Coffee Chat: Encanto

Image: Disney

Encanto was released on Disney+ on December 24th.
My girls watched it for the first time in mid-January.
By February, it had reached Threat Level Frozen.

They request the soundtrack every day in the car, and ask to watch it as soon as they get back from school. And according to Instagram, my house isn’t the only one deep in the Encanto phase.

Since all the songs were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Troy may or may not be in deep as well. So, we’re leaning into it.

This past month, we’ve talked about rhythm, timing, and using tools to even out arousal levels. Here’s how I’ve been incorporating my girls’ love of Encanto around the house to create happy, balanced 3-year-olds (for now).

  • Movement
    Around the fifth time that A&Z requested the movie, I noticed that they would be really into the beginning, then lose focus once their favorite songs were over. Instead of having them sit stationary to watch the movie, I’ve been asking them to dance with me during the songs. This gets them listening to the orchestration, matching movements to the rhythm and beat, and gets their bodies moving.
    The movie does a great job of incorporating lots of dancing into the scenes as well, so the girls can copy. If your kids are older and more coordinated, try getting them to learn Luisa’s dance in Surface Pressure.
  • Beats
    In the car or when they are watching the movie, the girls will try to sing most of the songs. I’ve asked them to clap or drum along with songs as well. Colombian music has so many layers and instruments and it’s fun to see the parts the girls will repeat or catch.
  • Instrumentals
    The latter half of the soundtrack is so beautiful and so well-composed. So when the girls are doing crafts or coloring, I’ve been putting on the score as ambient music, similar to playing classical music while your kid is doing homework. It’s not as distracting as putting on the full songs with lyrics, and I’m not stuck being a Disney DJ.
  • Spark their Interest
    The girls started playing a form of hide-and-seek where they run around our house, asking our “casita” questions and looking for the miracle. So we’ve been trying to introduce some new things related to the movie.
    Last week, we went to a Tapas restaurant and they had a Spanish guitar player playing live. Not South American, but the girls recognized the musical style and really got into the live music. I’ve also bought arepas and plantains for them to try, and we might look up the all the plants that Isabela names next week. I have a feeling they will want costume dresses when they come out in the spring.

Since my girls are still so young, they see the joy in this film first and foremost, but there are also other topics that you can definitely talk about with school-age kids. The movie has great cultural representation. It brings in complex family dynamics, refugee history, and self-worth. It also hits on a bit on parenting and acceptance, for all of you moms and dads to take note.

I have no idea when the girls will be on to the next big thing, but with the exception of a few earworms, we’re still enjoying this phase. The good thing is this movie has so much content that kids can gravitate toward, from food and family to music and magic.

Have you tried anything fun to engage with Encanto?
Let us know in the comments.

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