One or two times per day, as long as the DVDs are teaching NEW concepts for your child and your child is learning. Your child does not have to watch the entire DVD at one sitting to learn words and concepts. Some children will only watch in small increments of time, 5 to 15 minutes or so. If this is the case with your child, try three to four viewing sessions of 5 to 15 minutes. The really important key is to make sure that the DVDs you are playing are presenting challenging, appropriate words or material. Once your child has mastered the concepts presented in a DVD, graduate to the next DVD… otherwise you are wasting your child’s valuable learning time.
How should I use the DVDs with my Child?
Before beginning to use our products with your child, spend some time assessing your child’s current daily media “dose”. You’ll need to carefully consider how much time she or he really spends watching TV or videos each day. Keep in mind several little 15 minute doses of TV add up quickly during the day. If your child is currently watching more than 30-45 minutes of other media, you’ll need to begin cutting back. Cutting back can be difficult. You may have to do it gradually by cutting back 5 – 10 minutes a day over the course of one to two weeks.
Assess what type of media your non-verbal child is viewing. You especially should avoid having your child watch really fast-paced, high-stimulation media. There are a number of studies that suggest that high-stimulation TV viewing in childhood can lead to a shortened attention span. Baby BumbleBee DVDs are intentionally slower paced and more focused than popular children’s videos. This slower pace and simple visual content are appropriate for your non-verbal child and far more likely to result in your child learning new words. ** If your child is already really addicted to fast-paced, visually stimulating TV content, you will need to cut back. This advice is good for typically developing kids and really critical for children with a speech or developmental delay. An addiction to this type of TV can make it hard to get your child to watch our DVDs. It can also make it really hard to get your child to focus on anything he or she perceives to be more boring than the TV…..which for many TV addicted kids will include almost everything else.
Plan on spending time watching the DVDs with your child. You don’t have to watch with your child every time, but you should plan on plenty of shared viewing experiences, especially as your child first begins viewing and then later as you introduce new DVDs. This accomplishes a few things: First, shared viewing can help encourage your child to pay attention to and watch the DVDs. Watching with your child gives you an idea about what words or topics are being covered in the DVDs your child is currently watching. This allows you to tie in real world examples during day-to-day activities. Keep in mind that you’ll want to make extra efforts to reinforce concepts or words presented in the DVDs during daily activities.
As you watch, you can turn viewing into an interactive experience with your child. For example, with the Vocabulary BuilderTM DVDs you can use the flashcards to play a “match the TV” game by helping your child select the card corresponding to the word being shown on the TV.
Take time to explore some of the interactive games included on many of the DVDs. This gives your child a chance to apply his newly learned concepts and words.
As you watch together, add your own comments and observations. You can also ask questions as the words are presented. For instance as eyes are shown on the DVD you can ask “where are your eyes?”. This helps your child take an active interest in learning from the DVDs.
Finally, watching with your child can help you identify when you should “graduate” from a DVD. As hard as it can be at first to get some children interested in learning from the DVDs, it can be even harder to get the same child who’s started to enjoy them to stop. You’ll have to though. It’s important to keep your child progressing through the DVDs and to introduce new material as he or she masters the old. It’s hard to emphasize just how important taking the time to watch with your child can be.
Reinforce learning in your child’s day-to-day activities. As opportunities arise, identify and verbally label objects and actions that are presented in the videos when they appear in your child’s natural environment. Encourage her to follow your example by pointing to the object and saying its name if she can. Use the same technique when reading with your child. Remember, repetition and regular practice are the foundations of learning.
5. Encourage your child to use the new words learned from Baby BumbleBee to their practical advantage. For example, if you know your child wants an item, delay giving it for a few moments until you have made an effort to have the child attempt to say the word…Initially you should reward small approximations (maybe just a beginning sound at first). As time progresses require closer approximations of the words. Please note, It’s important to use your own good judgement here. It is not fair, and is also counterproductive to require more of your child than they can deliver. Encouraging language should be just that, “encouraging”. Do not expect verbal approximations from your child till he or she is ready, and always keep the learning environment fun and gentle.
6. Remember that language acquisition, both receptive (understood) and productive (spoken), is a gradual process that requires opportunities for modeling and practice. Baby BumbleBee DVDs are designed to help parents narrow the vast number of words with which a child might be confronted to a manageable and consistent smaller set, and to effectively teach those words. Children learn language in small steps and learning is cumulative. Parents and other significant adults play the most important role in a child’s language learning!
Suggestions for Playing the Flashcard Game
When there are flashcards to match a video, begin to play flashcard games with your child after he/she has seen the video several times. First, play games that strengthen receptive (understood) language. For example, from an array of five or six cards ask your youngster to identify one of the objects, ie. “Find the cat.”… or .. “Can you show me the cat?” etc. Once consistent identification of an object is made over several trials, begin to emphasize productive language. Say, “What is this?” If your
child doesn’t respond, provide the answer…”It is a cat. Can you say cat?” You can provide a verbal prompt by sounding out the word and pointing to the cat card.
What if My Child Doesn’t Seem Interested in Learning from the DVDs?
Some children need time to develop an interest in the DVDs. In some cases a lack of interest can be due to a child who watches too much high stimulation video or TV. Though it may take some time, it is usually worth making an effort to help your child develop an interest in the DVDs. Usually there are two steps involved:
Cut back on (or even eliminate) viewing of high stimulation non-educational video or TV.
Consistently play the DVDs for your child and, at least sometimes, watch with him.
Also, keep in mind that your child doesn’t need to watch a program in its entirety. Watching shorter sessions is OK too, and seems to work well for many kids. Remember that sometimes it might not appear that a child is attending, but in fact, he or she may be.
My Child Sometimes Watches the DVDs & Sometimes Doesn’t
Many kids have learned from the DVDs without watching them from end to end - they will only watch 10-15 minutes at a time, this is OK too. Just make sure that you don’t always play the same 10-15 minutes each time. If that is your child’s preferred method of viewing, pause the DVD when they are done watching and resume play from the last place viewed. You can use the chapter markers on the DVD to do this also.
* Some parents/therapists may wish to supplement the spoken language on our DVDs with the accompanying ASL sign. To do so will require that the parent acquire the information and skill to sign each word for their youngster as the video plays and as the flashcards are used.