3 Baby Programs and DVD Series to Enhance Speech and Language Development
The first word your baby utters will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable milestones for you as a parent. But you don’t have to wait passively for that time to arrive. You can encourage your little one to speak by talking and reading to him or her every day. And if you allow your child to watch television, you may find the following videos and programs helpful as well. Use these programs to augment, not replace, speech-enhancing activities with your child. Take note: these are general recommendations. If you have concerns about a speech delay or problem, please consult with your child’s health care provider, who may refer you to a speech therapist.
Baby Babble – Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers
The Baby Babble – Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers series was developed by two pediatric speech therapists as a tool to promote speech development in young children. Each video in the series focuses on a group of age-appropriate sounds; these are spoken over footages of baby toys, letters of the alphabet, and facial exercises. Toys are chosen to represent the specific sounds and letters. For example, a doll is napping for “N,” a group of balloons teach “B,” a fire truck is making siren sounds, and so on. After each main segment, parents can watch a speech tutorial filled with tips to teach a child how to talk. There is also a sign language tutorial to facilitate communication as your child builds his or her vocabulary.
Watch out for scenes that your child might not like. Some of the toys may frighten very young viewers. You will probably want to sit with your child throughout the program, making the sounds and exercises together. Baby Babble is simultaneously an entertainment video and an educational program. The idea is to help children to learn to talk through play.
Buy Baby Babble – Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers at Amazon.com
LeapFrog: 3-DVD Learning Collection
When it is time to introduce your child to numbers and the alphabet, sample the LeapFrog: 3-DVD Learning Collection. Start with The Letter Factory, an animated film that teaches the sounds and forms of the alphabet. Your child will follow a young frog named Tad as he tours his dad’s alphabet factory. Tad meets Prof. Quigley who shows him how the letters train to make their sounds. Each letter has its own classroom filled with objects and activities that start with that letter, e.g. letter J’s jump and letter L’s lick lollipops. The letters repeatedly sing an alphabet song that kids can sing along with.
If The Letter Factory leaves you wanting more, check out The Phonics Farm and The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park. These videos highlight phonics and alphabet characters respectively. Two sequels that followed The Letter Factory – entitled The Talking Words Factory and Word Caper – are appropriate for children learning to read.
LeapFrog also sells several titles that explore numbers: Numberland and Numbers Ahoy teach counting; Math Circus introduces addition and subtraction; and Math Adventure to the Moon looks at counting, skip-counting and shapes.
All LeapFrog animated videos use the same formula: a 30-minute adventure featuring animal characters, punctuated by lively songs and lessons. Children will enjoy singing and dancing to these programs so much that they won’t realize they are learning anything. Note that when these videos changed ownership, they made changes to the characters and storyline. Some people have also complained about loss of quality in the newer releases. Borrow from the library and see for yourself. LeapFrog: 3-DVD Learning Collection Walmart Target Amazon
Older babies and toddlers can expand their speech repertoire with the Brainy Baby series. This family of videos showcases a wide range of concepts that young children encounter in daily life. With classical music playing in the background, Brainy Baby takes your child on a journey through a world of letters, numbers, colors, shapes and more. Concepts are shown repeatedly in various forms. For example, when teaching the color blue, a narrator says “blue” and the video shows an assortment of objects in this color such as a blue bird, a blue umbrella, etc. The video footages are of high quality and the music is stimulating yet unobtrusive.
For lessons on the alphabet and phonics, LeapFrog and Baby Babble seem to be more popular choices than Brainy Baby (at least on Amazon). Also, each Brainy Baby program opens with a long musical introduction (several minutes) that might not hold a toddler’s attention. Still, if your child likes to watch high-quality videos while listening to music, he or she will probably enjoy them. The Brainy Baby offers many titles. You can catch segments of the series on the Baby First TV channel.
The above are suggestions only. Each child is different, and it is hard to predict how they will react to children’s programs like these. Your child may like one of the titles listed, or he or she may prefer something else. In any case, talk with a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child’s speech development. And remember that nothing can replace one-on-one interaction with your little one After all, the best thing one can give children isn’t DVD’s or toys or books; it’s quality time!