Would You Consider Purchasing "Sports Training" DVDs For Your Infant?
Would you consider purchasing "sports training" DVDs for your infant?
Did you see the article in the New York Times a while ago, titled Sports Training Has Begun for Babies and Toddlers? If you didn't see the original article, perhaps you saw some of the commentary around that web that it inspired. Doreen Bulhuis, a fitness coach from Michigan, used his passion for creating exercises for children to form Gymtrix, a company "that offers a library of videos starting with training for babies as young as 6 months." (You can view the videos with the article -- click on the above link.) Apparently, this isn't a "unique" company -- many have cropped up in recent years. According to the New York Times article, "Most sports-video entrepreneurs promote their products as early intervention for combating childhood obesity. Others say they provide time that parents and children can spend together." While some parents are huge fans, not everyone thinks "sports training" and babies or young toddlers mix:
“That’s really amazing. What’s next?” said Dr. Lyle Micheli, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the first pediatric sports medicine clinic in the United States at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Micheli said he did not see any great advantages in exposing babies to sports. “I don’t know of any evidence that training at this infancy stage accelerates coordination,” he said. One of his concerns, he said, is “the potential for even younger ages of overuse injury.”I took my son to Little Gym shortly after we adopted him. It was a great way for the two of us to get out of the house and for him to gain confidence in his abilities. His motor skills were delayed as a result of lying in a crib, presumably for the greater majority of every day and night, for the first ten months of his life. However, that's not why we attended Little Gym. He was in Occupational Therapy for those concerns.We attended for the social aspect and the opportunity for him to increase his confidence. We certainly did not attend Little Gym so that I could kick start his athletic career. In fact, it was never marketed or presented to us in that manner. And if that had been the purpose, the class would have been a major failure because there was nothing "sports" about it! To me, the classes were more about getting a group of babies and their mamas together and enjoying music, singing and physical play. I was extremely pleased with the classes and the environment. I'm not the sort of mom that pushes her kids in any direction, so I would have been very turned off had the classes including "training" components. I mention our experience with Little Gym because the New York Times article included the following paragraph:
The Little Gym, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., begins classes for children at 4 months old. Bob Bingham, the company’s chief executive, said that about 20,000 youngsters under 2 — about a quarter of the total enrollment — were signed up for classes at locations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. That is a sizable increase from last year, he said. The company, which has gyms in 20 countries, plans to open 100 locations in China over the next five years.It seems to me that the author of the article lumped a lot of programs into the "sports training" category when in fact some are just fun activities for little ones and their parents. Several commenters noted that they had participated in some of the programs the author discussed, such as 'lil kickers, and those programs did not "train" kids and were anything but competitive. The bottom line for me is that while I would absolutely not take my baby (seriously! a baby!) to a class intended to offer sports training, I don't think it's fair to lump all "mommy and me" type classes into that category. In no way, shape or form would I purchase a DVD where "[i]nfant athletes, accompanied by doting parents on the videos, do a lot of jumping, kicking and, in one exercise, something that looks like baseball batting practice." I think we can take anything too far and my parenting philosophies (if I can even call them that!) are not in line with sports training videos. But in my world, a mommy and me style class isn't the same as sitting down with my six month old and plugging in a DVD of babies participating in "sports." >>What do you think? Are you in favor of sports training videos for babies and toddlers? What about the types of classes mentioned in the article?