How my Daughter is Learning Spanish Watching Netflix

Two kids watching TV

Screen-time is sometimes unavoidable for kids. So why not turn screen-time into an opportunity to learn a new language? Read-on to find out why we let our daughter watch TV and how to change your child’s Netflix account to a new language. 

Why our daughter started watching TV

When the Pandemic hit, we were forced to pull our daughter, Kalia, from daycare. Her daycare is great, so great in fact, that we knew we would have a difficult time trying to offer her the same range of activities she was used to. Working from home while caring for Kalia was challenging, to put it lightly. One activity we resorted to that we had mixed feelings about was watching TV. 

Is screen-time appropriate for children?

Some believe that children shouldn’t watch any TV and we certainly share some concerns they may have. However, we have decided to allow it while placing limits on the amount of screen-time our daughter has. 

The Canadian Association of Optometrists has a useful handout, “Children’s Vision and Screen Time”, that talks about some of the risks associated with excess screen-time and has recommendations on the amount of screen-time children should have. They recommend the following for children in certain age groups:

  • 0–2 years: None
  • 2–5 years: Less than 1 hour per day
  • 5–18 years: Less than 2 hours per day

 If you have decided that screen time is the right decision for your family, you can turn this activity into an educational one by playing TV shows for your children in a new language.  This is easy to do if you have a Netflix account.

Setting up a Netflix kids profile in a new language

If you don’t already have a separate Kids profile set up for your child on Netflix, start by following Netflix’s instructions on creating a new Kids profile on your account. Creating a new profile on your Netflix account is free.

Be sure to select “Kids” so that the new profile uses the “Netflix Kids experience”. Note that when you select a Kid’s profile, Netflix automatically sets the maturity rating to TV-PG (appropriate for ages 12 and under). If you prefer to choose a different Maturity rating, see Netflix’s instructions to do so here. We chose a maturity rating of “TV-Y” for our daughter.

To help understand maturity ratings and choose the appropriate maturity rating for your child, TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board has this useful guide that explains maturity ratings.

Another handy tip when setting up your child’s Netflix profile is to turn off Autoplay. Autoplay is a feature that automatically plays the next episode at the end of a current episode. I find it easier to limit the amount of screen time for my child when this feature is turned off.

Once you have the maturity rating and autoplay features set appropriately for you child’s Netflix profile, you can change the language by following Netflix’s instructions here.

Some of my daughter’s recommendations 

Once we set up my daughter’s Netflix profile, she started by watching Peppa Pig in Spanish and now has moved on to another cartoon, Supermonstruos (the Spanish version of Super Monsters). One great thing about watching a cartoon in a language other than its original language is that you can’t tell that the audio is not in the original language as you would in a live-action TV show. My daughter expects these shows to play in Spanish as opposed to their original English audio. 

Peppa Pig is a light and lovable cartoon about a family of four pigs with the daughter, Peppa, as the central character. Peppa has a lot of fun going on adventures with her brother and learning from Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig. The Spanish audio in the show is not too fast, simple, and clear which makes it easy for a child to understand and pickup new vocabulary. 

Supermonstruos is a colourful and funny cartoon about a cute group of pre-school monsters who are the children of well-known monsters. They go on many exciting adventures while discovering their special powers. Like Peppa Pig, the Spanish audio in Supermonstruos is very clear and easy for a child to understand. 

Final Thoughts 

After watching a show in Spanish just a couple of times, our daughter started saying new words and sentences with perfect grammar that no one had taught her before. We were shocked at how fast she was able to pick up new vocabulary just by watching TV in Spanish. 

Don’t get me wrong, TV is no replacement for all the effort mom puts into teaching, finding activities, and interacting with our daughter in Spanish. And key to our daughter’s acquisition and retention of Spanish is speaking it in her everyday life with her mom, something she can’t do watching TV. But for me, as the non-Spanish speaking dad, I take a tiny bit of pride knowing that I had a small hand in Kalia learning Spanish by making her a Spanish Netflix profile. 😎


Useful Resources: 

Children’s Vision and Screen Time:


How to create a Netflix profile:


How to choose maturity ratings for a Netflix profile:


Understanding TV ratings:


How to turn autoplay on or off in Netflix:


How to change the language on Netflix:

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