There were a couple of research studies released this week that I found quite interesting.
The first was this one about those Baby Einstein videos for babies. It turns out that for each hour a day that 8-to-16-month-old babies watched baby videos, their language development lagged by 16 percent. What’s more astonishing is that babies who watched other TV shows (other kid shows, adult shows) did NOT have the same lag in language. It was just the videos that claimed to develop the brain!
I never got into the Baby Einstein craze, but I have friends who did. They were convinced that their babies were actually learning from these videos. Convinced. HA!
When Lisa was little, she didn’t watch any kid TV until she was almost two years old. We weren’t snobs about TV or anything, we just couldn’t see subjecting ourselves to the obnoxious puppets, talking animals and high-pitched voices that dominate kid shows any sooner than necessary. Bart saw more, because by the time he came along, Lisa had so many Blues Clues and Dora videos, we really should have bought shares in Nick Jr. And poor Maggie… I’m pretty sure she said "Dora" before she said "Mommy".
The message in the study is to read, talk and sing to your kids if you want them to be smarter. Put on Dora if you just want them to be quiet for a bit.
The second study was this one about marketing. It turns out that kids like chicken nuggets, milk, hamburgers and even carrots (which McDonalds does not sell) in McDonald’s packaging better than the EXACT SAME PRODUCT in generic packaging.
We once gave Lisa and Bart peanut butter sandwiches, apple slices and a juice box, packaged in a used McDonald’s bag with one of the crappy toys they already got on a previous visit to the golden arches to see their reaction. They didn’t recognize that the toy was one of their own, they happily ate their lunch and said not a word. We just thought they were a little slow, but it turns out, they’re just normal! Must be all that Dora they watch.