Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Barney Effect
I have a theory. The annoyance level a parent will experience from a kids' show is directly proportional to the amount a child will love it. A perfect example is Barney. Frankly, Barney annoys the crap out of me. If the purple devil comes on TV, I will immediately switch the channel to anything other than Barney. I'd find soft core porn to be more acceptable viewing material for my children. Why? Because they love that annoying purple blob and I don't want them to get too attached. Listening to "I love you, you love me" in that annoying sing song voice makes me want to punch something.

I recently had the opportunity to review the new DVD series Baby Loves Spanish for PBN. I love the premise. We should be teaching our children foreign languages as early as possible. My kids are little sponges and I couldn't wait to try the DVDs out on them. There are seven videos, each with a different theme. One DVD covers basic words, one family, one colors and shapes, one basic words.... You get the idea. The sisters who created the series are both lifelong Spanish speakers and they're both moms. I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, the series is a bit amateurish. My husband, viewing the videos with us, remarked that he thought he could do a better job in our backyard with the camcorder and Windows Movie Maker. At the beginning and end of every DVD, the sisters sing the Kids Love Spanish song (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) and do a very awkward dance. It actually hurt to watch it. I ended up just fast forwarding through the dance and music number as much as possible.

What I did like? The repetition. Each video shows clips of many different children and adults saying the Spanish word or phrase, interspersed with video illustrating the concept. For example, the word "perro" was repeated over and over by many children, interspersed with videos and pictures of dogs. I really liked that my children were hearing the many variations of accents and pronunciation. I think it made both of them less hesitant to try the words out for themselves. While my youngest, at 20 months, immediately started parroting the words along with the video, it took Hollis (my shy guy) a bit longer. But Hollis, my 3 year old, did begin speaking along with the video. That's unusual for him.

It was also very cute to watch Holden saying "hola" to everyone in the Mexican restaurant we went to last weekend. He seemed to instinctively pick up that the wait staff spoke Spanish and, because he had limited exposure to Spanish prior to watching the Baby Loves Spanish videos, I can only assume that the video helped him make this connection.

As I mentioned earlier, the Law of Barney dictates that, because I found the videos to be amateurish and a bit annoying, my kids loved it. They keep asking to watch BLS and enjoy rotating among the various videos. More importantly, they do seem to be picking up a few Spanish words. I'm making an effort to try and use the Spanish words from the video in our daily life as well.

Would I recommend the video? Yes, if you'd like an effective way to help your toddler learn some basic Spanish words. Oh, and if you're impervious to The Barney Effect and tone deaf.

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Blogger slouching mom said...

Umm, yeah.

I'm reviewing this next week, so I don't want to say anything else.

Just: yeah.

Anonymous SouthernBell said...

My kid loves Barney. I don't mind it, but I HATE Little Einstein's. Yep, she loves them!

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