Parenting Translator
Parenting Translator Podcast
Can Babies Learn from Ms. Rachel and Other Baby TV Shows? (Audio Version)

Can Babies Learn from Ms. Rachel and Other Baby TV Shows? (Audio Version)

The research behind whether babies and toddlers can really learn from TV shows targeted for young children

Most parents occasionally use “baby media” and there is no reason to feel guilty about this occasional use. We have no evidence that occasional use of baby media has any negative impacts on your child’s brain development. The real problem with baby media is not this type of occasional use, but when it is marketed as a method for promoting development when we have evidence that babies and toddlers do not learn from video. For example, Ms. Rachel suggesting on the Today Show that her shows may help a child with a language delay is a serious cause for concern, since parents may choose the easier route of turning on her show over the approaches that are actually effective for addressing a language delay, such as speech-language therapy. 

If you need to keep your infant or toddler safe and occupied for a few minutes, such as while you care for another child or make dinner, Ms. Rachel and other baby media might be a good choice for you. I remember turning on Little Baby Bum for my children in the car when they were screaming their heads off and I was worried I would get into an accident trying to soothe them.  However, it is important to keep in mind that Ms. Rachel or other baby media is unlikely to advance your child’s language or development in any way. In other words, there is nothing wrong with parents seeking occasional distraction or entertainment for their infants, but parents should not view television shows as ways to improve language or teach children new skills. 

If you are concerned about your child’s language development, seek out your local early intervention services or speech-language pathologist. These providers should be able to provide an evaluation to determine whether your child’s speech is actually delayed and, if needed, evidence-based services to improve your child's language. 

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Welcome to the Parenting Translator newsletter! I am Dr. Cara Goodwin, a licensed psychologist with a PhD in child psychology and mother to three children (currently an almost-2-year-old, 4-year-old, and 6-year-old). I specialize in taking all of the research that is out there related to parenting and child development and turning it into information that is accurate, relevant, and useful for parents! I recently turned these efforts into a non-profit organization since I believe that all parents deserve access to unbiased and free information. This means that I am only here to help YOU as a parent so please send along any feedback, topic suggestions, or questions that you have! You can also find me on Instagram @parentingtranslator, on TikTok @parentingtranslator, and my website (

DISCLAIMER: The information and advice in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical, mental health, legal, or other professions. Call your medical, mental health professional, or 911 for all emergencies. Dr. Cara Goodwin is not liable for any advice or information provided in this newsletter.

Parenting Translator
Parenting Translator Podcast
Translating recent scientific research for parents