Television and Babies’ Brains

Healthy brain development in young children needs quality sleep, bonding, language development in combination with less stress and anxiety. Award-winning theatre and television director, and LSX Fellow in the inaugural 2018-2020 cohort, Sacha Kyle, has creatively combined these elements into two projects. Her most recent project, BabyChill, is a multi sensory bonding experience that soothes babies and relaxes caregivers. Hushabye Lullabye is an animation to promote winding down before sleep. Learn more about her projects, her remarkable observations and her experience as a LSX fellow.

Author: Sacha Kyle

I have always been fascinated by babies’ brains and the importance of quality parent/caregiver interaction on early childhood development. Following continued research into this area and a fusion of my degree studies in Contemporary Theatre at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and Play Therapy at Glasgow University/Notre Dame Centre., I created a theatrical installation experience within an inflatable called ‘BabyChill’ designed to soothe babies and relax parents.

BabyChill was a relaxing musical and sensory environment for parents and babies to connect, interact and chill in together. The installation was set within an inflatable dome lit with beautiful soft coloured lighting to create a calming atmosphere. I worked with a designer to create an interior design that was cozy and inviting, filled with super soft textures and specially-designed toys that encouraged play and awakened the senses. The music was specially composed and written with a musician to create an environment that encouraged deep relaxation and calm between parents/caregivers and their children.

Alongside the BabyChill installation experience, I was also beginning to develop my work as a creator of children’s television content and was asking: Would it be possible to create a television show that could replicate this hypnotic, relaxing, calming atmosphere and bring it directly into the homes of parents and babies? How could I incorporate the use of music, relaxation, sound, and singing into such an experience? Would this enable more parents regardless of class, location, and income, to access these benefits of this quality exchange?

Over the last two years, I developed an animation series—‘Hushabye Lullabye’— which has now been aired on CBeebies/BBC as part of the Bedtime Hour, a perfect slot for being together and winding down before sleep. The visual aesthetic reflects the cosy and inviting super soft environment I set out to create in the BabyChill experience and I worked with leading composer Giles Lamb to create the musical landscape for the series to compliment each unique lullaby that I have written. The show features characters that I have specifically designed to reflect and relate to a children’s bedtime experience such as ‘Dilly Dallie’ the little alien who dilly-dallies before bed, the ‘BedTime Sheep’ and the cheeky ‘Chumbles’, mischievous little creatures who bounce and hide before its time to go to sleep. As a director I wanted to make sure that the series encouraged a sense of calm in the home before sleep and bedtime therefore alongside the use of language and music, the pace at which the programme moves and each character interaction has been specially considered for the early years audience.

To continue reading Sacha’s blog post, see “Television and Babies’ Brains” published on October 16, 2020 , in the Education Policy section of New America.