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Shay Mitchell’s daughter Atlas is just 8-months-old, but her actress mama, known for Pretty Little Liars, Dollface and You, is already teaching her some very important lessons.
For one thing, Mitchell is helping her baby learn Spanish, as she studies up on the language herself. She’s also passing on some of what she learned from her own mother, who’s from the Philippines.
“Speaking another language is one of the most valuable skills I can think of, and I love the Spanish language. It is so vibrant and beautiful,” Mitchell tells Yahoo Entertainment. “My mom taught me a little bit of Tagalog but I always wish I knew more. I think of language as a gift, and it will certainly come in handy where we live in [Southern California].”
Mitchell is also already talking to the daughter she shares with partner Matte Babel about racism in an age-appropriate way. (She notes that although she wasn’t able to walk in one of the protests about racial injustice going on nationwide herself, with Atlas being so young, she stands behind the cause.)
“Obviously she doesn’t understand everything that we’re saying,” Mitchell says, “but she can definitely see different pictures and the books that we choose to read to her have healthy messages in them as well. I think it’s just great to have that conversation and... when she gets older and she cares, [we can] have a two-way conversation about this.”
Then, at night, before Mitchell puts her daughter to bed, she spends a couple minutes teaching her about handwashing, something that’s become more crucial than ever in 2020. Mitchell feels so strongly about it that she’s working with Safeguard soap brand to call attention to the proven way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The company has pledged that it will donate $10 million to promote good handwashing habits among kids and provide underserved families and communities with free hygiene products through Save the Children and other charitable organizations.
“With communities all starting to open back up, you know, kids are going to be going back to playgrounds and schools, and I think it’s so important to stress the importance of washing your hands but also doing it the correct way,” says Mitchell, who filmed a TikTok that shows her dancing at the sink. (Mitchell usually simply sings “Happy Birthday” all the way through to Atlas to make sure she’s sudsing up for a full 20 seconds.)
Throughout the public health crisis, Mitchell, like many of us, has been spending more time than usual at home, period. She’s still on hiatus from her Netflix show Dollface, although she keeps up with “the girls” over text, but she’s continued to work on Béis, her travel products company.
“What’s helping us make it [through] is definitely FaceTime,” Mitchell says. “You know, I’m able to communicate with my friends, ones that have their kids as well, my parents and my grandmother. So it’s been nice that they can at least be able to see Atlas, even if it’s through a screen.”
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