Children's DVDs and CDs

Children's DVDs and CDs can provide interactive and engaging entertainment for your baby or toddler. They aren't meant to plop your baby in front of the television or stereo so you can tidy your kitchen or finish the dishes, however. For DVDs and CDs to be beneficial, they require some interaction between you and your baby.

There are a variety of educational children's DVDs on the market. They all claim to increase your baby's attention span, improve language skills, and improve recognition skills. Some DVDs claim to expose your baby to the world around them through the on-screen use of toys, music, art, language, science, poetry, and nature.

Many DVDs geared to babies and toddlers use song and poetry to expose your baby to language and words. Images of common toys and stuffed animals, kinetic toys, mobiles, and electronic toys flash onto the screen meant to visually stimulate your baby. DVDs geared to language development or letter recognition use short vignettes with puppets to introduce a letter of the alphabet and associate that letter with a word.

DVDs can help your baby accomplish the tasks of each developmental stage a little faster, but not if your baby is watching them alone. DVDs require parent-child interaction for your baby to receive the full benefit of watching a DVD. Sitting with your baby and talking to your baby about what is on the television will help to engage and interest your baby. Singing along or repeating the letter sounds and words will encourage your baby to do the same. Encouraging your baby to participate is key when watching DVDs.

Musical CDs also require participation on your part. There are many children's CDs designed to introduce your baby to nursery rhymes, popular childhood songs, classical music, and lullabies. You can even find children's books on CD that can provide voices for each character while you and your baby follow along. Some CDs are meant to lull and calm your baby, making them a nice bedtime ritual. Other CDs are meant to excite your baby or toddler to move or dance. If you want your baby to get excited and participate, you must get up and dance and sing with them. Music may inspire your baby to dance for a while, but without your participation, it won't last very long.

DVDs and CDs make a wonderful tool to enhance your baby's learning and expose them to new words, images, and sounds. Some babies are only exposed to classical music because of children's DVDs and CDs. Use them as a tool to interest your baby and show them new things. Don't just throw them in front of the television to get a 30 minute break—both you and your baby will be missing out on the key ingredient that makes children's CDs and DVDs worthwhile.

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