Just this week I heard the results of yet another study of early childhood development. The new findings show that babies exposed to the series of Baby Einstein tapes and dvd's are slower in their verbal development. I also found out today that this series is visual, there is no talking.
I never really bought into the idea that propping a baby in front of a tv would make them smarter, but I thought it was because sometimes I'm resistant to change. I still prefer Big Bird to Barney.
I also believe there is no substitute for actually playing with and talking to your baby. That's how they learn. When my son was about 2 or 3, I decided he should learn the alphabet. But I didn't want him to parrot the ABC's, or worse, learn from the tv. I thought of a game using his Playskool mailbox. I printed the letters on index cards and would lay them out on the table, tell him the names of the letters and then tell him to mail the m, or e, or w. He may not have know the exact order of the letters, but he could recognize them and he learned to read at a very early age.
My unsolicited advice to parents is to throw out the tapes and dvd's and talk to you child. Make him aware of this wonderful world of colors, shapes, sounds, and read to him, everynight even if you're so used to the story that you don't need the book anymore.