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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.

Dec 01, 2021 -

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How to Turn Your Child’s ‘Thank You’ Into Genuine Gratitude

It’s easy for children to say “thank you,” but are they truly thankful? Learn how to foster gratitude in your child.

Most of us use the words thankful and grateful interchangeably. We use them to express  appreciation for something or someone, and to acknowledge and appreciate good in our lives, without taking things for granted. Although the two words tend to go hand-in-hand, there is a difference between them: thankfulness is really a feeling while gratitude is an action or a state of being.

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows that instilling gratitude in children at a young age leads them to grow up to be happier people. They found that gratitude is already linked to happiness by age 5. Additionally, a sense of gratitude has many other important emotional health benefits, such as increased sensitivity towards the feelings of others, the ability to cope with adversity, a higher sense of self-worth, and generosity.

Children learn the importance of saying “thank you” at a very young age, but telling a kid to be thankful doesn’t mean they automatically will be or that they are truly grateful. It’s important that children learn why they should be happy for all that they have, regardless of monetary worth or even in the face of hardship. According to Andrea Hussong, director of the Center for Developmental Science and a professor of psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, there are four parts to gratitude that help children more deeply understand and see the good in their lives:

  • Notice - Make sure they recognize the things they have to be grateful for. What are you grateful for? Beyond gifts and toys, are there other things in your life that you’re grateful for? Are there any people in your life that you’re grateful for?
  • Think - Encourage them to think about why they’ve been given the things they have, the people involved, and the reasoning for why they did it. Did someone have to give this to you? What was the reason you were given this? Do you think you earned this? Is this something that you need or something you want? Do you think others might need this more than you do?
  • Feel - Have children reflect on the emotions they experience as a result of the things they’ve been given. How did this gift make you feel? What emotions are you feeling inside? What is the reasoning for your positive feelingsis it because of the gift itself, the meaning of the gift, or the person that gave it to you?
  • Do - Prompt children after experiences of gratitude to spark acts of gratitude. Is there a way you can express your appreciation to the person that gave you this gift/showed you kindness? Do you want to make others feel the way you did after receiving this gift by giving something to someone else?

If you want to teach your child about gratitude, try listening to and discussing the Canticos Thank You, Gracias song — available on YouTube and in the Encantos app.

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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?