Baby einstein about

The rise and fall of Baby Einstein.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Baby Einstein/YouTube.

Screen Time is Slate’s pop-up blog about children’s TV, everywhere kids see it.

In 1996, Julie Aigner-Clark was a stay-at-home mom in Colorado frustrated by a lack of sufficiently educational entertainment for her 18-month-old daughter. She shot the first Baby Einstein video in her own basement with a borrowed camcorder, a few puppets, and an $18,000 budget. Five years later, she sold the company to Disney for a reported $25 million. Aigner-Clark appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and President Bush praised her as representing “the great enterprising spirit of America” in a State of the Union address. In 2009, however, the jig was up: Disney was forced to admit that the videos had no educational value and offered full refunds to parents who had bought them. What a dramatic rise and fall! It was like something out of Baby Shakespeare.

The big idea, before it (mostly) fell apart, was to expose children as young as 6 months to high culture and foreign languages, though many parents, desperate for a shower, seemed to start the curriculum even earlier. When “Baby Einstein” became a hit, Aigner-Clark produced other videos: “Baby Mozart,” “Baby Galileo,” “Baby Van Gogh,” and yes, “Baby Shakespeare.” The videos featured montages of toys, puppets, and simple shapes set to snippets of music and poetry. “We always think of these things as being for adults,” Aigner-Clark told a reporter, “but my theory is you certainly see the beauty in these things if you are exposed to them in the right way, no matter what age you are.

For millions of parents, that theory made intuitive sense—or at least, they were eager for it to make sense, since the videos were also dynamite babysitters. Baby Einstein’s website featured testimonials from parents who gushed about their children’s obsession with the series; one mother proudly reported that her 20-month-old son watched the videos up to 10 times a day. It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly Baby Einstein dominated the screens of family homes with small children in its first few years. By 2002, Baby Einstein videos were “mesmerizing babies across the country,” one newspaper profile reported, “and turning that cranky hour at the end of the day into a more peaceful time.” According to one study cited by the New York Times, a third of all American babies between 6 months old and 2 years old had at least one of the company’s videos.

In retrospect, this was a golden era of screen time for the very young. Producers were offering increasingly sophisticated products targeted specifically at very young children. Teletubbies, a show intended for children as young as 1, premiered in the United States in 1998. Other productions made explicit claims that they would make babies smarter. “It’s true!” the Baby Genius series reassured parents, “Classical music and powerful images stimulate your child’s brain.” Your Baby Can Read!, a $200 program of DVDs and books, promised that children as young as 9 months old could be on their way to literacy. There wasn’t much pushback on this from experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ first recommendations on children’s TV consumption, published in 1999, sounded a cautious note about kids under 2 but didn’t forbid it. It was the Wild West of babies staring at screens.

The Baby Einstein glow began to dissipate by the mid-aughts as studies doubting their efficacy started to roll in. For every hour a day that babies watched Baby Einstein videos, they knew 6–8 fewer words than their peers. Watching “Baby Wordsworth” did not improve 1- and 2-year-olds’ language development. The earlier a child started watching Baby Einstein videos, in fact, the smaller his vocabulary.

The writing was on the wall, and even a baby could read it. An advocacy group complained to the Federal Trade Commission in 2006, prompting Baby Einstein to drop the word educational from their advertising. A few years later, the group threatened a class-action lawsuit, citing estimates that Baby Einstein products represented 90 percent of the “baby media” market.

Under pressure, Disney announced it would offer refunds of up to $16 for up to four DVDs per household, which many interpreted as a tacit admission that the videos were not producing Einsteins after all. The refunds were estimated to cost the company $100 million. (The FTC also successfully filed suit against Your Baby Can Read! in 2012. Your baby could not, in fact, read.) Disney sold Baby Einstein in 2013 for a presumably much less astronomical cost, and the brand still exists as a purveyor of toys, walkers, bouncers, baby mats, and other analog baby products. Aigner-Clark and her husband sued the researchers who published the most explosive debunking of their claims, saying they wanted to acquire the raw data in at attempt to clear her legacy.

The idea that a vaguely highbrow video can make a child smarter now sounds like a kind of old-timey tech utopianism, like the idea that social media would democratize the flow of information and unite people around the globe. The question now is not whether screen time might make your babies brilliant but whether it actively harms them.

Twenty years after Aigner-Clark sold her first Baby Einstein video, there’s remarkably little real-life consensus. The AAP has tweaked its recommendations several times, with the latest guidelines allowing that FaceTime is OK for babies less than 18 months old and that toddlers can benefit from educational media if parents are next to them while they watch. We’re still figuring this stuff out. With gruesome imitations of popular kids’ shows looping on YouTube and toy companies trying to push “tabletop digital nannies” for kids’ rooms, the worst-case scenarios for kids and screens have gone way past These cute videos might not boost my infant’s IQ. While Baby Einstein may have overpromised, in retrospect, anodyne puppetry set to synth-y Mozart doesn’t look so bad.

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Baby Einstein (TV Series 1997– )

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  • TV Series
  • 1997– 1997–





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TV Videos aimed at preschoolers. A Highly-Integrated cast of children interact with puppets and toys, often adding classical music. TV Videos aimed at preschoolers. A Highly-Integrated cast of children interact with puppets and toys, often adding classical music.TV Videos aimed at preschoolers. A Highly-Integrated cast of children interact with puppets and toys, often adding classical music.





    • Julie Aigner-Clark
  • Stars
    • Julie Aigner-Clark
    • Dave Privett
    • June Privett
    • Julie Aigner-Clark
  • Stars
    • Julie Aigner-Clark
    • Dave Privett
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    • 2User reviews
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    Julie Aigner-Clark

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    Julie Mallory

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    Sierra Clark

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    Review of Baby Einstein

    When I was a 2 year old Baby Einstein was very calm and quiet show I watched when was a toddler. They gave me all lots of 1,2,3 like ABC's and other shapes and colors. I enjoyed watching it when I was a toddler it was my childhood memories. And now I am 19 years old. It was in 2005 they showed.



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    • Release date
      • January 31, 1997 (United States)
      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Canada
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      • Official Website as of 2013
      • English
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      • French
      • German
      • Chinese
      • Hebrew
    • Also known as
      • Baby Einstein Classics
    • Production companies
      • Artisan Entertainment
      • Family Home Entertainment (FHE)
      • Independent
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      • 1. 33 : 1
      • 4:3

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    CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Baby Einstein - Baby Einstein

    What is Baby Einstein?
    Surely every parent has heard about the existence of this company, or seen a cartoon or seen a book with a picture of a beautiful toy giraffe or kitten. Someone may have heard forest reviews about what wonderful Baby Einstein cartoons are, one mother says, and the other agrees with her and begins to excitedly tell what good and educational cartoons they are, and that thanks to these cartoons her child sits silently buried in the screen, her mouth open , but the most important thing is that now this mother, thanks to these Baby Einstein cartoons, has a lot of free time and she can calmly take a break from household chores while her child is entertained by toy animals that do not talk, but make strange sounds all the time, puff, sniff and giggle all the time.
    So let's figure it out together what kind of fruit is this - Baby Einstein and what it is eaten with.

    Baby Einstein's story
    The Baby Einstein video cartoons were released in stores in 1997 and provide simple music, math and language lessons. The manufacturer advertises them as "necessary" for the full development of the child. These claims have yet to be proven or disproved, says Frederick Zimmerman, who studies the relationship between child development and similar materials at the University of Washington, Seattle. According to him, in many cases, firms producing such materials do not test their products.

    What episodes of Baby Einstein are there?
    Baby Einstein cartoons can be suitable for children from birth up to 3-4 years old. The complete collection consists of 27 cartoon episodes. Each episode of the Baby Einstein cartoon features the music of famous composers - Bach, Bizet, Schubert and others. The child looks at animals, toys, children, beautiful landscapes, nature, transport and much more.
    Baby Einstein cartoons in English. Together with puppet characters, your child can learn a foreign language, concepts of seasons, body parts, products and flowers, animals and household items, and modes of transport. There are series where they study numbers and counting, geometric shapes and letters of the alphabet.
    At the moment there are the following cartoon series Baby Einstein:
    1. "Baby Einstein: Baby Bach - Music Adventure". Age: from birth
    2. "Baby Einstein: Baby Beethoven - Symphony of Joy". Age: from birth
    3. "Baby Einstein: Baby Santa's Music Box - Santa's Music Box". Age: from birth
    4. "Baby Einstein: Language Nursery - Language Nursery". Age: from birth
    5. "Baby Einstein: Numbers Nursery - First Digits". Age: from 1 year old
    6. "Baby Einstein: Baby Mozart - Music Festival". Age: from birth
    7. "Baby Einstein: Baby da Vinci - From head to toe". Age: from 9 months
    8. "Baby Einstein: Baby Neptune - Learning Water". Age: from 9 months
    9. "Baby Einstein: Baby Galileo - Exploring the sky". Age: from 9months
    10. "Baby Einstein: Baby MacDonald - Day in the country". Age: from 9 months
    11. "Baby Einstein: Baby Shakespeare - World of Poetry". Age: from 1 year old
    12. "Baby Einstein: Baby Wordsworth - First words at home". Age: from 1 year old
    13. "Baby Einstein: Baby Noah - Journey to Animals". Age: from 1 year old
    14. "Baby Einstein: Neighborhood Animals - Local inhabitants". Age: from 1 year
    15. "Baby Einstein: Baby Newton - Learning shapes". Age: from 1 year
    16. "Baby Einstein: Baby Van Gogh - The world of color ". Age: from 1 year
    17. "Baby Einstein: World Animals - Animals of the World". Age: from 1 year
    18. "Baby Einstein: On The Go - We go, swim, fly ". Age: from 1 year
    19. "Baby Einstein: Baby Monet - Learning the seasons". Age: from 6 months
    20. "Baby Einstein: Meet the Orchestra - Musical instruments". Age: from 1 year
    First words on the street". Age: from 1 year
    22. "Baby Einstein: Baby's First Moves - First Moves" Dance, spin, clap! Age: from 6 months.
    23. "Baby Einstein : My First Signs - First Signs". Age: from 6 months to
    24. "Baby Einstein: Baby Gourmet - Baby Gourmet". Duration: 36 min.
    25. "Brainy Baby - Right Brain" - Development of the right hemisphere of the brain. Age: from 9 months to 2 years
    26. "Brainy Baby - Left Brain" - Development of the left hemisphere of the brain. Age: from 0 months.
    27. "Baby IQ - Smart child". Age: from birth to 3 years

    What do the media write and psychologists say about Baby Einstein abroad?
    According to Dr. John Grohol, President and Founder of Psych Central.
    Increasingly popular are these CDs claiming to focus on improving infant development and if your child is in front of the TV they will learn skills - focused mainly on speech - faster than other children.
    Thus, researchers at the University of California, Riverside conducted a study intending to determine the value of discs called “Baby Wordsworth” (part of the Disney series Baby Einstein), which is supposedly designed to teach babies new vocabulary words.
    The researchers assigned a group of 96 infants aged 12 to 24 months to watch Baby Einstein's video for six weeks, and compared their results with a control group of infants who did not watch the video.

    At the end of those six weeks, the babies who watched "Baby Wordsworth" didn't know more words than those who didn't watch the cartoons.
    “We found that over six weeks, children watching this did not learn more words than those children who did not watch this film,” noted the authors in the study.
    Baby Einstein was created as a way to help a child get to know the world around him, but if you engage with your child using books, toys and your actual home, the full effect would be the same.
    Past research has also shown that, for the most part, these programs simply don't work and can't help a child's educational development. In fact, in past studies, babies who watch educational movies actually learned fewer words and scored lower on certain cognitive tests than did babies.
    Baby Einstein claims they don't sell their cartoons to help make babies smarter (although at some point in their history, their sales growth was due to their videos supposedly enhancing and developing children's abilities). Yet I suspect that many parents buy these products - partly because of the name - they think there is some basis that watching will somehow help their child be smarter or learn more successfully.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to all parents that children under 2 years of age should not watch videos or television. Previous research suggests that time spent in front of a TV screen or monitor has the opposite effect, and may even harm a child's development rather than help him, and "Baby Einstein" cartoons are created by the Walt Disney Company to experiment on your children.
    This experiment ended this week with the news that the Walt Disney Company, which owns the Baby Einstein brand, is offering refunds to all families.
    An unusual move for the millions of American parents who bought Baby Einstein, who didn't turn their kids into geniuses. For now, refunds are not available for UK parents.
    Baby Einstein was conceived as a direct result of research that has become not only a marketing phenomenon, but also part of the definition of parenting today. Disney is thought to be making $200 million a year from its sales.
    One study found that one-third of all American families with children 6 months to 2 years of age had at least one Baby Einstein video.
    Dr. Jack Boyle, a leading child psychologist, says television has become ubiquitous for toddlers. "If you take a sample of mothers whose children are two years old, then 99% of them will watch TV."
    In 2004, the Seattle Journal of Pediatrics published an article in which they report that for every hour of TV viewing between the ages of 1 and 3, there is a 10% increase in the risk of attention problems at age 7.

    Watch Baby Einstein - cartoons for children under 3 years old online. For kids. online video

      Material category: For children
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      Cartoons of the Baby Einstein series introduce the baby to the outside world and are very popular. The presentation of material in Baby Einstein is organized taking into account the developmental characteristics and mental perception of the smallest viewers. Cartoons are intended for babies up to three years old and are divided into four categories: from three months, from six months, from nine months and from one year. Each cartoon introduces the baby to a specific topic: house, animals, body parts, colors, shapes. Under classical music specially adapted for children, bright colored toys, glove puppets, pictures of nature are shown on the screen. In these cartoons, there are no frequently changing frames with many characters - this tires the kids and leads to overexcitation of their nervous system.

    The cartoons don't have translation, but it's not too important because very few words are used, and their meaning is absolutely clear to the kids from the picture on the screen.

    1. Baby Bach - musical adventure
    2. Baby Beethoven - Symphony of Joy
    3. Da Vinci Baby - Head to Toe
    4. Baby Dolittle - animals of the world
    5. Baby Einstein - first sounds
    6. Baby Einstein - language
    7. Baby Einstein - Lullaby - soothing sounds for baby
    8. Baby Einstein - meeting with the orchestra
    9. Baby Einstein - meeting with the orchestra
    10. Baby Einstein - numbers
    11. Baby Einstein - riding, swimming and flying
    12. Little Galileo opens the sky
    13. Little McDonald - a day at the farm
    14. Baby Monet discovers the seasons
    15. Baby Mozart - Music Festival
    16. Baby Neptune opens the water
    17. Baby Newton opens molds
    18. Baby Noah - Animal Expedition
    19. Baby Santa - jukebox
    20. Baby Shakespeare - the world of poetry
    21. Baby Van Gogh - the world of flowers
    22. Baby Wordworth - first time around the house
    23. Baby's favorite places
    24. Baby's first steps
    25. Baby's first signs
    26. Opening forms

    • Strawberry Shortcake
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    • Xenia 2013-09-05 10:57:25

      both me and the baby liked it very much, it looks with pleasure, I don’t understand what Margarita didn’t like. This is usually the way those who do not have children argue, and teachers generally do not use such words as "Spoil". Moms are not lazy, they try to develop their baby by all available means, and be sure that before showing the baby this or that cartoon, each one will reread the mountain of literature on this subject. You, too, would do well to take a little interest in progressive methods, and not wave the flag without knowing the topic (I personally have the opinion that in modern pedagogy you are not in the tooth with your foot, but everything is the old fashioned way). Walking on the street is very useful, reading books is great, but you also need to acquaint yourself with cartoons, just be strict about the selection of what you watch and the time of this viewing.

    • Pavel 2012-12-04 12:07:43

      these are good cartoons, they are not harmful to the child, but vice versa. It is just important to combine activities with the baby and educational cartoons. it’s all slow, with such music .. it’s good for the baby’s psyche

    • Sofia 2012-09-08 15:22:58

      Dear Margarita! I think that every mother has a lot of daily housework, and sometimes it’s more useful to take a child with a developing cartoon, instead of getting into boiling water in the kitchen, getting burned or trying household chemicals on the tongue while you work. Even if you consider yourself a "cool teacher", I will not believe that your children do not know what a cartoon is, and there is no need to "smear" mothers here ....

    • Julia 2012-05-04 10:31:42

      Girls, no one forces you to replace classes with your child with cartoons, just instead of aggressive modern cartoons, offer kind and understandable ones to your baby) My son loves THOMAS AND HIS FRIENDS very much

    • Talya 2012-02-22 02:11:37

      I have been using the tutorials since 6 months and am very satisfied. The child sees many different objects, sees animals, listens to music, all this develops visual memory, broadens his horizons. Thanks to this program and my comments, he knows a lot of English words, counts up to 20 in Russian and English, learned the Russian and English alphabets, vehicles, geometric shapes. Learned animal species and colors at the age of 2. Not a child prodigy, but it is very pleasant that without nerves, just looking through and explaining to the child what we saw, we had a pleasant and informative time together. Now he puts this disk on himself and asks him to turn on programs where geometric figures are voiced, and speech is also accompanied by sign language. All this is learned and repeated. Although we read a lot and our child is not deprived of parental attention. Do not criticize harshly. Everyone decides for himself, but if my child (3 years 8 months) returns to this program from time to time and discovers it in a new way ... this is his right.
      In any case, this is the age when parents can instill good skills, give a good healthy start to the psyche of the child.

    • Margarita 2012-02-10 15:39:21

      Dear mothers, if you want your child to develop quickly and well, then you need to watch not such "educational" films, but WORK with your child!!! From such films you yourself get dumber, not only that you develop, they show some clockwork toys, all sorts of nonsense! In addition, children should not watch TV (monitor) for more than 20 minutes a day! Spoil your eyesight and there will definitely be no development. I don't get what you like about this movie? Would you like to shift the upbringing and development of the child to some stupid Americans? Do not be lazy, communicate more with the child, show him books, tell him in an accessible way, ask questions to the child, let him learn to answer at least “yes”, “no”, then he will master complex answers faster! The race for "educational films" is not always justified!!!

    • galya 2011-03-18 23:48:05

      I like it.

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