Raising bilingual children

A new year is a great excuse for new beginnings. It is an opportunity to think deeply on the past while looking forward to the future.  As another year has gone, I have been reviewing my goals in raising bilingual children and remembering once again why teaching Spanish to my kids is so wonderful to me.

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Raising bilingual children is not as easy as I thought it would be. It requires more hard work, creativity, perseverance and patience than I imagined. However, I think the harder my husband and I work in raising bilingual kids, the luckier my family gets. And let me tell you a few reasons why:

  • Teaching a second language requires me to be more conscious with how precious time is. Not only teaching another language as young as possible is better, but the work itself is an invitation for parents to slow down and value more how precious those earlier years truly are.
  • Teaching my children Spanish connects me with my fondest childhood memories and parts of my identity. Sometimes, when I sing the songs that my mother used to sing to me, my memory is filled with those special childhood days that makes me appreciate more the joy of life and those that have been part of it!
  •  Teaching my children Spanish has allowed them to learn more about their Latino heritage. I enjoy immersing my children in the culture through traditions, art, food, travel and the idiosyncrasies. It is true that language and culture go hand in hand.
  • Teaching my children Spanish allows me to create memories. Because my three children are in different ages, I have used diverse teaching techniques for each of them. The individual time that I get to spend with them has provided me with special opportunities to bond with my kids in different and needed ways.

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My seven-year-old can be considered fully bilingual. She can write, read and speak in Spanish. But I still plan to help her more with the speaking part so her fluency can get better and better. These are the main things I will be doing this year to help her with fluency:

  • Continue speaking Spanish to her all the time.
  • Find opportunities for her to volunteer in a cause where she can serve, grow and speak Spanish.
  • Skype abuelita more often during the week.
  • Re-establish communication with her “best friend” that she made in her last visit to Ecuador.

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We are actually in the bilingual rebellion stage with my four-year-old right now. I have lost some battles, but I am positive we will win the war! :These are the specific things I want to do about this cutie:

  • Set more play dates with her dear friend from church that only speaks Spanish. (bahaha)
  • Keep speaking only Spanish to her and do not force her to do it if she doesn’t want to.
  • Ask her to be my special helper in teaching Spanish to her baby brother.

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My toddler is in this beautiful time where he thinks that everything is a game and giggles. My specific plan for him this year is:

  • -Keep speaking, singing, reading in Spanish to him. (And kissing those chubby cheeks!)

 

What are your bilingual goals for this year?

 

“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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