Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wait, Your 2 Year Old Can Do What???

I've had a bit of insomnia lately, so you know what that means- Infomercials in the middle of the night! Another guilty pleasure of mine, yes, but I don't watch them to buy things (ok, there was that one time, and the whole 10 minute workout thing sounded amazing, and I had a little money to spare, and the free gifts....blasted all), I watch, well, I'm not sure why. I guess to see the next new fandangled make-your-life-easier product, or, yes, secretly wanting to sabotage the 'we'll make you look 20 years younger' new serum by calling them up, buying the product, and then demanding my money back in 60 days because they didn't hold up to their promise of making me look age 9 again (hey, you said 20 years younger- maybe you should clarify that you need to be in your 60s for that to happen when you do your infomercial, thank you). Ahh, for whatever reason, I find myself stopping on new work out equipment (Here's a secret for you- I do want one of those ab crunch belt thingies soooo badly), the skin care treatment that's sweeping the nation, the juicer that can extract liquid from a dead cat, the set of knives that can saw through a car hood, and the makeup that lasts 300 hours before it starts to wear off; I don't discriminate when it comes to infomercials.

Last night, in my channel surfing, I perked up a bit. (Now, as a disclaimer, I will not name the actual product here, I am not affiliated with any product like this, and this blog is purely my opinion on the matter- there, legal stuff taken care of, just in case.) There is a product, which apparently has been out for years (my past infomercial surfing has failed me, as this is the first I've ever heard of it), that helps your baby learn how to read. Baby- we're talking, like, 9 month olds. Through repetitive visual linking of the object and the word (like 'Cat' and then showing a picture of a cat), this product teaches babies simple words. They showed that a 10 month old could look at the word 'head' and point to her head, look at the word 'hand' and she started waving. I guess the product gradually ups the ante, so to speak, to help your 18 month old read small books, your 3 year old read chapter books, and so on. They had a testimonial from one mom who said she started her baby out on the program at only a few months old. This child went on to read her first Harry Potter book at age 3, and by age 5 had read the entire Harry Potter series, all by herself.

Ok, so here's the 'did she just say that' moment- Am I the only person out there who finds this program slightly disturbing??

Kids are supposed to be kids. While I understand that young minds obtain and retain information more quickly and easier than adult minds, but I've never been a big fan of teaching your 3 year old to speak Russian, just because their mind will absorb it easier. Now this philosophy is being extended to 6 and 9 month olds. What happened to just making sure your kid was crawling somewhere around 6 months, walking somewhere around a year old, reading somewhere around the age of 5? What's the rush of getting your child to read at a year old? What long term effects does this have on the child? And, isn't it a right of mommyhood to be able to spell something around your 2 year old that you don't want them to know about (like trying to coordinate a Christmas present when you are on the phone with your mom miles away)? You just wiped out that entire little edge you had on your toddler.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with reading. And, in this program's defense, the 5 year old who had read the entire Harry Potter series, was a book worm, loved reading, and that's great. But, there's no long term studies done on this, as this program, this product, has only been around for like 5 years now. I mean, if kids were supposed to read at age 2, wouldn't they already be doing it? What re-wiring are you doing to your child's brain that you don't know about by introducing this at such an early age? Probably none, the program is amazing, and I'm just a paranoid, overprotective mom. But, you really have to wonder. I wonder what these kids will be like when they are older, too. Just what long term effects something like this has on them, emotionally, mentally, and socially. I'm not saying dumb your kid down so that other children don't chastise them for being a 'nerd' (I was a nerd in school, and I eventually just told other people to kiss my ass and walked to the beat of my own drum, eventually becoming a strong, independent woman), but, if something like this leads to a 5 year old being put into the 2nd grade, and then skipped grades later in life, how much of their childhood as a kid will be lost in that? I don't know, I just don't know.

Needless to say, I won't be purchasing this product for my family. I don't have a baby anymore, anyway, but, the program just freaks me out. I put it in the same category as spiders and snakes. Weird and scary.


  1. I bought it because I thought it might be nice. It might work for others but I don't know cos my 2 yr old watches it only once in a while and I don't like to force him because I don't see the hurry of reading.
    As for the informercials, I got sucked into buying a certain treatment once,p.., and it dried out my skin seriously.

  2. I heard that they proves it doesn't really work. It causes memorization but not comprehension, so basically what they read doesn't connect for them.

  3. I so agree!
    At first, I was wondering what you're thoughts were going to be on it, just because I'm still learning you :-), but we think the same thing. Let kids be kids. It seems like every generation grows up faster anyway. Jake need not be reading Harry Potter at 2; we'll love him just the same. Even though he may start reading around 5 (total slacker...I know), he doesn't need to prove anything. Kids will eventually read, just leave 'em alone!

    And, thank you for your comment. I love the new blog look, too! And, I'll definitely keep the oil trick in mind for next time...when I have to scrub actual food! ;-)

  4. To each his/her own re: how quickly they want to push their child, but -- yeah. No. I'm with you.

    My daughter is two, also, and when she picks things up from the stories we read and songs we sing and crafts we do (letters, numbers, ideas, etc) -- of course that thrills me and I encourage it! But I'm not about to sit there and drill her at this age, you know? There'll be plenty of pressure later. Toddler on, baby.

    I stumbled upon your blog from blogher. Following now!