II. Five Things That Help
Luckily, there are things that are the same or similar, and therefore will help the student to pick up French more easily.
1. Articles. Both Spanish and French use definite and indefinite articles (the/a, an) more than we do in English, so Spanish speakers learning French will already be used to this. At times, the articles are required, even though they may not translate. For example, "J'adore la pizza." can simply be that you love pizza in general, but not necessarily "the pizza" (a specific, already mentioned pizza).
2. Word Order. In many cases, for basic Spanish and French, the word order will be the same or similar. Direct and indirect object pronouns, for example, can be tough for English speakers who haven't studied Spanish, but Spanish speakers understand their before-the-verb placement.
3. Working with Gender. Spanish speakers are already used to the idea of learning and paying attention to grammatical gender. They'll already be aware of different ways it can affect other parts of the sentence (like adjectives, for example), as well. Working with gender with states and countries will also be familier. Unfortunately, the genders won't always be the same in different languages.
NOTE: I recommend encouraging your students to always learn nouns with an "un" or "une" right from the start, so they'll have the gender at hand. At first, it's not as easy to guess the gender of nouns when just beginning with French. Over time, students will pick up the patters, commen endings, etc.
4. Reflexive Verbs. This is especially tough at first for native English speakers who haven't studied a language which uses the reflexive pronouns more. Those who've studied Spanish will be more able to get a hang of how they work. Take parts of the body and verbs for taking care of ourselves, for example. The reflexive pronoun takes the place of the possessive adjective, and the definite article is used before the noun. To beginners, it makes "Je me brosse les dents." seem like "I'm brushing myself the teeth."
5. QU. Luckily, at least the "qu" combination in many words will be the same [k] sound. Even French has its exceptions (words borrowed from other languages, for example). Sometimes, the GU will also be a [g] as in French, but not always.
Of course, practice is key, so encouraging your students to use the language as much as possible is still an important part of teaching a language--as you already know. Remind them that the brain often needs to see and hear things many times before it sticks, but that it eventually will. Yes, it really will! Bonne chance!