Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Click the links below to find answers to the following questions:
The earliest recommended time to start is when your baby has visual tracking – the ability to follow moving objects with the eyes. However, the earlier a child learns language skills, the better. If your child is five years old, it is better to start now than when your child is six years old.
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How do I get started?
Please start as soon as you can. Regardless of your child’s age, please start with Volume 1. Put in the DVD and select the Classic version. Make sure that your child is in an upright position, close enough to see the television screen, and comfortable.You may want to have your child seated on your lap and gently encourage him to participate in the activities presented in the video. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to have your baby seated in a highchair and feed your child while he is watching.We strongly recommend that you reduce the amount of TV that your child watches so using Your Baby Can Learn! will be a more novel activity for your child. Sometimes it helps to have your child watch the videos early in the morning, before or after a nap, or after physical activity. We also suggest that you remove distractions from the room before watching the videos.
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What should I do if my child is not focused on the videos?
If your child is not initially focused on the videos, there are many different strategies that you can use to help your child focus in a fun, stress-free manner.
1. Focus on the videos as you watch them with your child, saying the words appropriately, answering the questions, and doing physical actions. In other words, model the behavior that you want your child to learn by participating appropriately. If your baby is in the mood, help her do physical actions that correspond to the words.
2. Please try dimming the lights while your child is watching the videos. This could help your child focus on the screen rather than other objects in the room. This is similar to when adults are in a dark cinema – we are more easily able to focus our attention on the screen instead of paying attention to the people or objects around us.
3. Remove distractions from the room before playing the videos. This includes toys and other objects that may hold your child’s attention. Please remove the distractions well before playing the videos. Also, please remove toys while your child is not watching you, or he may get upset looking for missing toys.
4. Try playing the videos while your baby is seated in a bouncy seat, high chair, or some other secure seat.
5. Try playing the videos shortly before or after your child sleeps.
6. Please reduce or eliminate entertainment-based television or videos. Make watching television a rare occurrence for your baby.
7. Your child may become more familiar with written words and have an increased interest in watching the DVDs if you are also using the Teaching Cards, Lift-the-Flap Books, Sliding Word Cards, or any of the other products that include the same words shown in the videos. You may also help your child become familiar with these words by printing them on paper, whiteboards, chalkboards, electronic screens, Magna Doodles, or other materials.
8. It is fine to watch for a few minutes many times a day. Don’t start at the beginning of the videos every time. Please start where you left off or jump to the next chapter.
9. Switch from watching the Classic version to the Newer version even if your child has not watched the Classic version for the recommended amount of time. Watching a new video should increase your child’s interest for a while.
10. While this is not my preferred method, it may help in some cases to leave the television playing a Your Baby Can Learn! DVD while your child is playing or eating. Even if your child is not focused on the video, she may still benefit if she looks and listens part of the time. The primary reason for this is that young infants have many more new language synapses – new brain connections related to language – than children who are age 4 or older. This means that your baby won’t need to make an intentional effort to learn.
11. Some parents do physical activities with their babies right before watching the DVDs. You may also want to go outside before or after watching the videos.
12. If your child can see a screen while in the car or other locations, showing the DVDs at this time may help keep his interest.
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Should I allow my baby to watch television?
I have been speaking out publicly against babies and toddlers watching entertainment-based TV for more than 15 years, which was before the American Academy of Pediatrics issued their statement and long before other groups began speaking out against babies watching TV. I have always been against parents showing too much television or mindless shows to their babies and toddlers. I originally made the first videos for my daughters because I did not want my own babies to watch entertainment-based TV shows or videos.
More than 20 years ago, as a busy parent who was working full-time and attending graduate school, I created the original videos that became Your Baby Can Learn! for my own babies because I found that there were times when we were too busy to give them the amount of verbal stimulation that I believe babies need. The same was true when my daughters were at the babysitter’s house or in the car, so we also used the videos to help them learn language skills in these situations.
In spite of my opposition to babies watching television, in my view it is not the television that is the problem in most cases. Rather, it is the content the babies are watching (entertainment-based versus educational) and how babies are watching (passively versus actively) that causes many problems.When used properly, a television can be a multisensory device that provides valuable information.
Some people state that infants should not watch television because there is a “video deficit” where infants don’t learn as much from watching a video as they do from a person. However, it depends on the concept being taught, what is on the video, and the other options available. For example, if a child is learning about an elephant, it is better to see an elephant in person than on a video. In person, the child could see, hear, and smell the elephant. However, a video of an elephant may provide information about how an elephant moves or sounds that isn’t available in a photo. Drawings often don’t give accurate information about animals, but people generally don’t complain about a “drawing deficit” in children’s learning. Television may actually be better to deliver some information than other mediums when used educationally and in a positive way. Of course, it can also be used to show uninformative entertainment-based shows, and it can be overused.
-Dr. Robert Titzer