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Every Kid Deserves the Chance to Learn and Grow

Pair these FREE educator-developed printable activities with your favorite Encantos videos, books, and songs to help your child develop critical reading, writing, math, and social emotional learning skills. Plus, check out our Tips for Grown-ups to help reinforce the teachable moments in each lesson.

Oct 20, 2022 - 3 min

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Learning two languages at the same time pays lifelong dividends

The best time to learn a new language is during a child’s first few years of life. Learn how to help your child get an early start to bilingualism with Encantos.

Marhaba. Hola! Bonjour. Konnichiwa. Hallo. Shalom. Salve. Ahoj. Nǐ hǎo. Namaste. Hello.

Bilingualism (or multilingualism) is the ability to speak and understand two or more languages. We tend to look at language simply as a way to communicate, but language plays a much more fundamental role in how we experience the world. There are cognitive and social benefits to language and they expand as we learn to understand and speak multiple languages.

Children and adults who are exposed to more than one language experience benefits in their cognitive development—their ability to problem solve, think critically, listen, make decisions, and even perform better academically. Bilingualism has been shown to improve a child's reading, writing, and math skills. Bilingual learners see improvements in social development as well, creating and maintaining strong family bonds, connecting deeply to one’s culture, communicating with others globally, and possessing a strong sense of self-worth.

The young mind has an increased capacity to change, learn, and rewire itself with stimulation and learning experiences. Although the brain is malleable throughout one’s life, research shows that it’s at its highest potential for learning within the first three years. Children's brains are very active and flexible, and it’s important that we capitalize on the young brain’s abilities to quickly learn and grow. What better way to do so than teaching your child another language?

Tips for raising a bilingual child:

  • Make learning fun - Lay the foundation for bilingual literacy with a variety of hands-on puzzles and games. Games help motivate children and build a friendly atmosphere where learning is fun and engaging.
  • Sing songs in another language - Listening to music in a different language enriches one's bilingual vocabulary as it helps them retain words and expressions effectively.
  • Read multilingual books - Buy your child’s favorite books in different languages and stock up on dual language books that feature text in two different languages (English text in addition to the language you want your child to learn). Check out this book list or visit the Encantos shop to find the perfect bilingual books for your child. (Additional resources)
  • Incorporate language in screen time - When you allow your child screen time, turn-on subtitles in the language of your choosing and occasionally change the language of the program’s audio as well. The more exposure kids have to another language, the better they’ll be able to use and understand it!

How the Encantos app can help kids become multilingual:

Storyworlds like Canticos, Cleo y Cuquin, and La Petite Petra teach kids multilingualism through games, activities, videos, songs, and stories. Download the Encantos app to get started on building your child’s bilingual literacy skills.

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Ask a Bilingual Expert

Raising a bilingual child? On this page, our very own Director of Learning Design and Efficacy, Sophia Espinoza, addresses some of the most common questions, concerns, and curiosities around the benefits of bilingualism. Get the scoop below!

Sophia Espinoza is a career educator and curriculum designer with seven years of experience teaching in private and independent schools across the country. She is an expert in 21st-century education, including technologically-powered personalization, multilingual and multicultural curriculums, and social-emotional learning.

Sophia began teaching in Chicago Public Schools through Chicago Teaching Fellows, learning to support both English Language Learners and students with neurodiverse needs. Among her proudest accomplishments is launching the AltSchool Spanish Immersion Program, with the mission of creating bilingual global citizens who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. Sophia holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and M.A.Ed. from Dominican University.

Benefits of Bilingualism (FAQs):

Any advice on managing two Spanish dialects in the household? Does this cause confusion for kids?

What do you recommend if I’m not completely fluent and my child’s school doesn’t have an immersion class?

Do you recommend teaching different subjects in different languages? For example, the solar system in English and the days of the week in Spanish? Or is it better for kids to try to learn in both languages all the time?

We speak Spanish and English in our home but my child almost always answers or talks back in English. How can I go about encouraging her to respond and speak more in Spanish?

Should I set aside time or create activities for each language or is it okay to mix them both together?

Any advice for households where one parent speaks Spanish and the other English? Can this be confusing for children?

How can my child learn language through play?

What are the social and cultural benefits of bilingualism?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?

What are some strategies for raising bilingual children?

What are some common misconceptions about raising bilingual children?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?