Posted by: Lisa | December 15, 2010

(You)Tube for Tots

Yes, I have shown my toddler music videos on YouTube.  They include all kinds of graphic imagery, such as a dancing dog puppet with a bone in its mouth (no, not THAT kind, you perv!) and psychedelic colors flashing across the screen.  Before you report my blog to WordPress – or my child to Social Services – take heart knowing that I was just sharing a couple Baby Einstein videos online with Jacob.

I don’t watch much TV.  I definitely don’t think toddlers should.  It’s only been in the past month or so that I’ve even turned any cartoons or children’s shows on for Jacob.  I mostly just wanted to see what he’d do, but I also thought that maybe it was time to teach him a few of the popular characters, like Elmo.  Everywhere we go people point out Elmo things to Jacob, and I felt like the bad mommy who has deprived my kid the joy that is Elmo.  I’m not saying I want my child to always succumb to peer pressure, but I don’t want him to stick out like a sore thumb either, so if every other toddler knows who Elmo is, I suppose my kid should, too.

Over the course of a few weeks I found a few shows to offer to Jacob.  (Yup, had to do some serious searching online for the names of toddler shows, what they were about, & how to find the right channel on my TV.)  I was so relieved to see that Sesame Street is still going strong and I also came across Curious George (I love monkeys!) and a few that were new to me, such as Super Why & Sid the Science Kid.  I am a big fan of PBS, so I’ve stuck to that channel.  Each time I’ve turned something on I sit with Jacob & point out various animals, characters, or words he might know.  For a few minutes at a time he’s interested.  After that he meanders back to his little toy cars & trucks, pushing them along the edge of the couch while saying “Num!” (vroom).  I shrug my shoulders & flip the TV back off.  So my kid isn’t glued to the tube?  Fine with me!

Baby Einstein, however, is different.  We have one Baby Einstein DVD, and Jacob loves it.  He stares, mesmerized by the funny puppets, simple objects, brilliant colors, peaceful music, & eye-pleasing designs.  I name the things he sees & together we dance to the music.  I think Jacob likes this better than regular cartoons because the images are so much simpler to take in & focus on.  I think the company has gotten a really bad rap.  No, the videos aren’t going to make your kid a genius!  If you’re dumb enough to believe that then let’s face it – your kid has that same DNA.  Hmmm…  The videos aren’t substitutes for parents or teachers.  They’re supplemental.  And if the TV’s going to be on anyway, little ducky puppets teaching the names of colors sure beats Two and a Half Men (I confess, I love that show, but I don’t watch it with my toddler!).  We watch our Baby Einstein video about once a month, mostly because I don’t really think about it much more often than that.

For the past few days Jacob has been incredibly whiny.  He keeps pulling me toward the front door, begging to go outside to play.  The problem is that the wind chill is about -40 and would cause our noses & toesies to fall right off.  But try explaining that to a 19-month-old.  This is going to be a LONG winter if we can’t play outside.  So in desperation tonight I pulled up YouTube and searched for “toddler videos.”  I found all kinds of appropriate things to share with the youngest crowd.  Here is a list of a few I liked in particular:

Official Baby Einstein YouTube page – includes various videos.  Be sure to expand to full-screen so your baby isn’t distracted by extraneous text/pictures.

Super Simple Songs – a list of short, kid-friendly songs

Basic ABC song with really cute & simple imagery

Just a silly one, but it gave me an idea to make one just like it with people/objects Jacob knows


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