Baby Einstein May Not Make Your Baby Any Smarter: Study

A new report released by Education Sector, a centrist Washington think tank, says that many efforts to build “brighter babies” are doomed to failure because they are built on misinterpretations and misapplications of brain research.

“While neural connections in babies’ brains grow rapidly in the early years, adults can’t make newborns smarter or more successful by having them listen to Beethoven or play with Einstein-inspired blocks,” says Sara Mead, a senior policy analyst with Education Sector.

That a baby’s first three years are key for brain development is beyond dispute; scientists know that babies’ brains change rapidly, growing and pruning synapses. But Mead says a few early childhood advocates have misinterpreted or misused research to suggest that if parents don’t sufficiently stimulate children’s brains before age 3, they’ll do irreparable harm. There is no evidence that the first three years “are a singular window for growth that slams shut once children turn 3,” Mead says.

The researchers also say that they don’t know enough about brain growth to say whether educational toys or lessons help: We are “far from knowing how to build a better brain.”

I don’t believe that parents buy these DVDs to make their children geniuses. The images on them are fun and entertaining for babies 6 months and up. Most parents have heard from other parents that the videos keep the child’s attention and that many of them enjoy watching the random images paired with fun upbeat music.

We have the CD for the car because my son likes the music, not because I think it is preparing him to be a concert pianist.

Researchers need to learn not to take these titles so literally. These videos do a great job of introducing new objects. They are created to stimulate the brain and expand the number of items your child recognizes.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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