Several months ago we started watching English video lessons on YouTube. My 1-year-old son was trying to push keys on the keyboard, not concentrating his attention on the video.

I'd like to save in his early memory English words by fixating them with video shows and cartoons. I don't know whether it is OK to demonstrate with a computer to such small children.

What are effective methods to fixate words and phrases in the memory of a very small child?

And I know, his vision is limited. Is it OK to show him videos from YouTube?

1 Answer 1


Probably no harm, but probably no benefit. At this age, the kids are learning phonetics, they are learning the inventory of different sounds. At a bit later age, they will no longer hear the sounds that are not in their language, same as adults.

In one interesting study, Kuhl’s team exposed 9 month old American babies to Mandarin in various forms–in person interactions with native Mandarin speakers vs. audiovisual or audio recordings of these speakers–and then looked at the impact of this exposure on the babies’ ability to make Mandarin phonetic contrasts (not found in English) at 10-12 months of age. Strikingly, twelve laboratory visits featuring in person interactions with the native Mandarin speakers were sufficient to teach the American babies how to distinguish the Mandarin sounds as well as Taiwanese babies of the same age. However, the same number of lab visits featuring the audiovisual or audio recordings made no impact. American babies exposed to Mandarin through these technologies performed the same as a control group of American babies exposed to native English speakers during their lab visits.

ref: http://eibalance.com/2013/05/03/kuhl-constructs-how-babies-form-foundations-for-language/

Now for older children, teenagers, I have heard anecdotal evidence from Icelanders I've met that if you grow up in a household with lots of English TV, some kids pick up English.

As for what to do instead, not enough space here. Suffice to say, teaching children a 2nd language can be done, and the challenges are often different from what people initially expect them to be.

And I think the jury is out on "flash card TV", some of the TV shows aimed at babies/toddlers is 1/2 step away from video flash cards. The key with any TV is that it be at their level (i.e. showing cartoons meant for 8 year olds to babies doesn't help them much).

Also, at this age, they are moving through linguistic milestones so rapidly, advice that works, might stop working a few months later.

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