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Baby Video Recommendations?
November 17, 2008 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend baby videos for nine-month olds (and up)?

My two nine-month old twins (boy and a girl) watch approximately half an hour of television a day. I'd like to expand their viewing selection.

What worked for your kids? Were there videos they loved? Hated? That you loved... or made you want to toss the dvd player out the window? Would you recommend the Baby Einstein series or not, and why?

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We're based in the US, but I'm open to hearing about non-American productions. Videos that are specifically aimed at kids under a year old would be great, but I'm totally open to learning about videos for any age. After all, they're gonna grow up!

We have Bounce videos from PBS Sprout. (I find I'm singing that ^%$%! earworm of a "Hello Song" at all hours. I suppose that's normal. *sigh*) We also have HBO's Classical Baby series.
posted by zarq to Shopping (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
According to several studies (I mentioned a few here, and other people weighed in with some good stuff, too), it really doesn't matter what they watch. Pick something that you can tolerate watching/hearing four thousand times.
posted by phunniemee at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


yeah, no video.

Not a parent, but I was a kid with no TV once.
posted by troy at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2008


Way too young to have positive value. Stuff marketed at children that young is just that... marketed.
posted by rokusan at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend Pocoyo - it was originally a Spanish children's TV series, but it has been translated into a number of different languages, including English. The English language version is narrated by Stephen Fry, who is a delightfully passive aggressive counterpart to the toddler protagonist of the series, Pocoyo. Each episode is about seven minutes long; the animation is very cute and well done, and the plot is often quite clever. My son has been watching them since he was six months old, and shows no signs of boredom yet.

Oh yeah, and they don't totally drive me up the wall either, unlike a lot of children's programming (e.g. the Wiggles, modern Sesame Street).

Here are some youtube samples.
posted by Wavelet at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2008


I recently read that the third highest paid dead person in 2007 was Albert Einstein due to the deal the estate made for the Einstein Baby Videos. I personally never cared for them much and my son did not really take to them.

As someone that grew up addicted to TV I was a TV Junkie, I agree that less is more.

The stuff I could tolerate is/was Thomas the Tank Engine, Kids go inexplicably bananas for Teletubbies
posted by silsurf at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2008


troy: Not an option for us. We tried and it didn't work for us.

It would be impossible for me to properly convey how utterly exhausting it can be to keep up with twin, infant children to someone who doesn't have them. They're still not sleeping through the night either. We need the sanity break, even though it's a short one -- and hopefully they'll spend it learning something.

The television isn't taking the place of real, honest-to-goodness human interaction with their parents. They get that constantly. But it does give us about 30 continuous minutes per day where we don't need to be hyper-vigilant of their every move.
posted by zarq at 2:38 PM on November 17, 2008


Jack's Big Music Show is pretty fun. It's pretty much all music, and the songs are quite catchy - and not in that way where you want to put a stick in your eye to make it stop. Some youtube clips: Andrew Bird as Dr. Strings, Nuttin' but Stringz, Turtle Rap, Schwartzman Quartet
posted by true at 2:40 PM on November 17, 2008


zarq, I understand what you are saying about needing the break. Just don't be under the illusion that they will learn anything. It's just a more expensive version of the cool mobiles that people hang over cribs to entertain babies. Its eye (and ear) candy and nothing more.
posted by Joh at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2008


phunniemee: Thank you VERY much for the link to that thread. There's quite a bit of information there I wasn't previously aware of. I'll browse through the suggestions as well.

... it really doesn't matter what they watch. Pick something that you can tolerate watching/hearing four thousand times.

Battlestar Galactica it is, then! :)

(kidding, kidding)
posted by zarq at 2:49 PM on November 17, 2008


My son (now 2 and a half) didn't really show any interest in television (or DVDs) until he was about one and a half. Probably the first thing he really loved was a cheap DVD with dozens of crudely animated nursery rhymes - I seem to remember it had a name like '100 Favourite Nursery Rhymes' or something similarly generic. A little later he started to enjoy the BBC's 'In The Night Garden', which is aimed at very young children and can be quite entertaining for adults too. Oh, and on preview, I'll second Pocoyo and raise you a Pingu.

Anything with bright colours, music and plenty of movement will do the trick at that age. Do bear in mind that very young children don't have the ability to filter their hearing in the way that adults do, so television should never be left on in the background while you're doing other activities - it makes it really hard for them to focus.

That said, I really don't feel that television (or DVDs) have any great value as an aid to early development. It's certainly a very meagre substitute for interaction with parents and other children. Try not to be over-earnest about these things - there's a whole industry playing on your paranoia that our child might not be as advanced a pre-schooler as someone else's child. We all want to give our child a good start, but there's really nothing better in the first few years that plenty of human contact and lots of fun.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2008


..excuse the mangled pronouns....
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:53 PM on November 17, 2008


Nthing Jack's big music show. My son LOVES Yo Gaba Gaba and Little Einstein's. Both my children enjoyed the Baby Einstein series. And I don't agree that they don't learn anything from tv. . Everything in moderation of course but my son can pat a beat like they do on Little Einstein's. Not just during the show, he does it in music class too. I'm one of those freaky TV parent's and he basically doesn't watch anything except what is listed above. Don't feel bad about needing a break and using the TV to get it. A little will not hurt them and if it helps you to be a better parent then everyone wins!
posted by pearlybob at 3:00 PM on November 17, 2008


My Nephew loved HBO's Classical Baby.

I'm not sure of his exact age when we first watched these, but he literally sat transfixed watching the baby and the animals. It's sort of like Fantasia for little ones. The music clips are much shorter to fit their attention spans. I bought the linked set to watch with him and now his brother. - We may have to see if it still works now that they're 5 and 3...

Otherwise I don't remember them being allowed to watch much TV at that age, so a specific show doesn't really come to mind. The older one always liked baseball, but considering the seasons, I'd say you're out of luck if that's the case! :)

Good luck!
posted by Kimothy at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2008


No Signing Time recommendations yet? They were the only thing my son ever even looked at on TV (other than golf). He was not interested in the screen at all. We only started watching them when he wasn't saying any words by 12 months.

And he absolutely learned. By 24 months he knew more than 150 signs, including ones that we had missed in our bleary-eyed viewing, so he wasn't picking it all up from our repetition.

Best ones IMO:

Family, Feelings & Fun
My First Signs
Baby Signing Time
Time to Eat
ABC Signs
posted by peep at 3:24 PM on November 17, 2008


Just be careful, as at least one study has linked such programs to later development of Attention Deficit Disorder and in 1998 the American Pediatric Association recommended that children under 2 years old not watch such videos or tv. I know it must be tough with twins, though. Sorry I can't recommend anything else.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:57 PM on November 17, 2008


Crystal Tipps and Alistair.
posted by Dr.Pill at 4:26 PM on November 17, 2008


If you have tivo and get Noggin, you can record a bunch of different shows and see what they like. My kids had definite individual preferences, even at that age. The baby einstein videos were popular for a long time.

Also, don't let anyone make you feel guilty for letting your kids watch 30 minutes of tv a day.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2008


In an answer to your specific question about the Baby Einstein series, my kids loved them. I'm not sure if they would have been as giggly if I had put on other kids shows, but the ability to have these videos exactly when I felt they needed the 30 or so minutes was a great help. I also believe the kids actually got something from the videos, but that might just be confirmation bias on my part.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 5:04 PM on November 17, 2008


In my opinion, it's perfectly possible to learn from TV and/or videos. What's really hard is STOPPING babies from learning - they're learning machines! Everything they do is learning! Just because they're not learning addition or the ABC's doesn't mean their learning isn't valuable and relevant. I'm sure zarq is well aware that the TV doesn't make a good parent substitute :)

That said, my personal opinion is that Educational (capital E) videos aimed at very specific age brackets might be a waste of money. I can't say I speak from much experience - I'm not a parent, and I watched TV extremely rarely as a small child. On the few occasions that I did watch TV, which I remember in great detail 'cause it was so exciting - I was most happy to watch videos of live musical concerts (Peter Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkle, Raffi, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Casey Jones), NOVA or Discover nature videos, America's Funniest Home Videos (babies love slapstick!), and a couple of PBS shows for kids (Ghostwriter, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego). Obviously those PBS shows are not appropriate for 9-month-olds, but I included them because your question mentioned "and up".

Yeah, so I'd go for music, possibly multi-lingual music. Maybe it'll be right for your twins. I absolutely LOVED listening to tapes of French and Spanish folk songs as a very young toddler and I imagine I would have enjoyed the videos also. Personally, I'd shy away from the short-attention-span, all-primary-colors, only-short-words world of commercial infant videos* - obviously babies don't have the same needs and likes as adults, but it seems to me that infants are pretty awesome at extracting useful information out of the world at large, and I don't see why that would be any different for music and/or videos not specifically aimed at infants.

*Actually, research strongly supports the hypothesis that the language abilities of young children are strongly correlated with how many words (yup, the number of words) they are exposed to as babies.
posted by Cygnet at 7:04 PM on November 17, 2008


Nthing Baby Einstein. I've nannied for three sets of infant twins in my younger days, and when I felt like I was going to tear out my hair after one or both skipped their naps, I'd put them in bouncy seats for half an hour and make myself some coffee while they watched red balls bounce across the screen. Kids will be rapt by most TV shoes, I suppose, but Baby Einstein uses slow, bright primary colors that appeal to very little children. All six babies preferred the Einstein DVDs to, say, network TV or Sesame Street, at least until they were older. And as someone who's only professionally dealt with twins, don't let the anti-video comments get you down. Let them get on a high horse after they're saddled with two squalling babies.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:18 PM on November 17, 2008


I've babysat a now-17 month old for the past year, and he's consistently loved watching Sesame Street (or, really, anything with muppets and music), as well as Tellytubbies on youtube. Mr. Rogers is a bit too slow for him, yet, but I have hopes that he'll come around.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 PM on November 17, 2008




Pick something that you can tolerate watching/hearing four thousand times.

Battlestar Galactica it is, then! (kidding, kidding)


Why is that "kidding?" Seriously, there's no evidence that kids under about 3yo benefit from any particular TV programming, or even from TV at all. I've even heard that it's bad for them, and I used to room with an educational psychologist who talked about this stuff forever. ("Those Einstein videos are a fraud!" was something I heard often.)

So Battlestar Galactica would be FINE, or at least not worse than anything else. At best, all that is happening for your child is (a) shiny lights! and (b) getting accustomed to the sounds of human speech. Of course, you can get that from a trip to the park, too.
posted by rokusan at 12:07 AM on November 18, 2008


I HATE Teletubbies. Really, ugh. They have really dumb accents and don't really speak English, but rather "fake baby". They say "no" a lot. I have to admit that babies love it but...blah.

Yo Gabba Gabba is grating after a while, but kinda funny.

Dora the Explorer is so repetitive it makes me want to scream.

Pinky Dinky Doo and Jack's Music Show, I'm neutral.

I like Little Bear, because it's very mellow and soothing, and has a nice family feel to it.

Mister Rogers is my favorite, if you can find it. It was (and is) a favorite of many mefites.

Bob Ross is a good one for sleeping. His voice is like baby Valium.

Shows about aquariums are nice. There are some youtubes that just have fish swimming around for a long time.

Try the radio on a talk news station, like NPR, sometimes that soothes the wild beasts.

If all else fails, yeah, go for Battlestar Galactica or pay someone to bellydance while you snooze. Life is short.

(Can you tell that I spend a lot of time with a toddler?)
posted by sondrialiac at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2008


We may have to see if it still works now that they're 5 and 3...

Yes, it still quiets the teeming masses! Also, there's a strong emphasis on Mother(Father)/Child togetherness. It's very nice - and both boys laughed and delighted at naming the different animals and their babies in the songs and "audience."

Here's an example of one of their favorites from tonight...

And now I'll stop harping and leave you alone...

Good luck again!
posted by Kimothy at 11:28 PM on November 22, 2008


My baby is liking Your Baby Can Read. Prior to one year, he didn't care much, but now he's 15 months and is a fan. Every so often a word will appear on screen (and be spoken aloud) and he'll say it back, which is sort of neat.
posted by jragon at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2008


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