Thinking I would have some profound effect on my nieces and friends’ babies brains, I spent an inordinate amount of money on “Baby Einstein” DVD’s over the past decade or so.
It wasn’t until I began reading books as a new mom that I realized two things:
- I didn’t want my own child watching TV
- Baby Einstein and The Mozart Effect have been debunked
I first caught wind of the debunking of Baby Einstein DVD’s and The Mozart Effect when reading John Medina’s incredible book Brain Rules For Baby. If you’re looking for a book to read while you’re pregnant, this book supercedes almost anything I read before or since. (And I read a LOT.)
Medina found that Baby Einstein DVD’s didn’t just lack positive effects on babies, but they vocabularies of the target audiences (infants from 17 to 24 months) actually worsened. “For every hour per day the children spent watching certain baby DVDs and videos, the infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them .”
The findings were so distasterous that Disney demanded a retraction and in 2009 they recalled the product, offering refunds to Baby Einstein purchasers.
What about The Mozart Effect? Well according to studies, listening to Mozart improves cognitive ability, but the effect wears off after just 15 minutes .
I’ve always wanted to be a mom and in the early 2000’s, I even wrote a psychology research paper on The Mozart Effect; it was fully supported by research at that time.
However, Researchers and the University of Vienna analyzed 40 studies of the “Mozart Effect” in one monster meta-study only to find that listening to Mozart had zero effect on a child’s cognitive abilities.
What about Bach and improved mathematical and language skills? (This is another theory I heard during the early 2000’s when the market was flooded with hundreds of CD’s, DVD’s, and materials supporting the supposed “Mozart Effect”.) Well, there is still evidence that learning music improves a child’s mathematical and language skills. However, merely listening to the music, versus learning how to play or compose it, doesn’t do the trick.
The moral of the story? There’s no magic bullet to turning on your child’s cognitive performance. Singing to you child, teaching him or her how to play or compose music, or enrolling your child in Music Together, Musikgarten orKindermusik have a lot more upside.
If you’re like me, you love to sing and dance with your child. To help you out, I’ve compiled this list of 100 songs that are actually FUN to listen and dance to for both you and your baby.
Sign up for Spotify and find the playlist “Hunter Play” under playlists.
 Medina, John. Brain Rules for Baby (Updated and Expanded): How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five (p. 146). Pear Press. Kindle Edition.
Learn more about how to create smart, happy kids while on the road.
Check out my new book Go Baby Go on Amazon here.