By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.HC. 

If you teach Baby Signing Time then you have probably been asked, “Is it okay to show my baby the videos? 

The choice to show an infant any media is purely personal.  After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) clearly states that children under the age of two should not have screen time at all. And here we are as Instructors offering parents videos for their infants. Is it a conflict of interest?

baby pointingSimply put, as both a mother and an educator, I don’t think so.

What you have to understand is that the American Academy of Pediatrics has to address what is essentially a media crisis. They claim on their website that today’s children are watching up to seven hours of screen time per day. They must take into consideration baby’s brain development along with the kinds of media most readily available – and rightfully so.

The thing about Baby Signing Time videos is that they really aren’t like most media out there. There is no rapid firing of images. There are no commercials. There is lots of music and learning. And perhaps, most importantly, they of course teach sign language, and sign language is naturally a language of movement, which is pretty hard to learn just from a book or flashcards alone.

Point out to parents how the videos use real children to demonstrate the signs. Nothing is quite so fascinating to a baby as other babies, and they really tune into this. Also be sure to point out that when Rachel teaches the signs, the printed word is shown, a boost for early literacy that connects items with labels and print.

mom and kids at computer

Remind parents that Baby Signing Time (and Signing Time) videos are never meant to be babysitters. Encourage them to sit with their child and learn the signs and songs right along side them. The Baby Signing Time videos now come with the CDs included, so remind them that they can always learn the signs, and then turn off the TV and switch to the CDs for practice. Finally, they always have the option to use the videos in short segments, stopping it after 10 minutes or so and moving on to something else.

I feel very confident that what we offer on the videos is nothing but an asset to a baby’s development, and an awesome addition to all the other wonderful non-media things a parent can do with their child. Happy Signing!