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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 08, 2021 -

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Parent Guide on Raising A Bilingual Baby

By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

As a Latina mom, it’s very important to my husband and I that Sebastian, our 2-year-old, learns both English and Spanish.

As a Latina mom, it’s very important to my husband and I that Sebastian, our 2-year-old, learns both English and Spanish. And while he’s just now learning to speak, we’re reassured he’s learning both languages when we hear him say Spanglish sentences like “Mamá, más balls!” (“mom, more balls!”) We’ll get him to sort out the two languages later … Here are a couple of the tools that are working for us that might also work for you.

Family and caregivers

My husband and I each speak in only one language to our son. I speak to him in Spanish, and my husband speaks to him in English. If there are family members or bilingual people you know who can speak to your child in a second language, coordinate opportunities to spend time together playing, talking, singing and reading.

If that’s not an option, consider finding a bilingual caregiver—whether a dedicated nanny, babysitter or a caregiver at a daycare center who can commit to speaking to your child in only a second language.

Nursery rhymes and songs

Between the catchy lyrics and infectious beat, music is a great way to introduce a second language. We love to sing bilingual songs to Sebastian and also expose him to them through educational cartoon videos on YouTube, like Canticos, and bilingual books.

Sebastian loves to shake his hips to latin music while he tries to sing the lyrics. In fact, one of his favorite nursery rhymes is “Los Pollitos.” It’s one of the most popular Spanish children’s songs. We can’t help but watch in amusement and amazement as he learns not only the language but also the culture.

Kids learn best when they’re having fun, so find ways to make the experience enjoyable for your little ones and for you. ¡Éxito!

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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?