New year’s resolutions for raising a bilingual family

By Lydia Maldonado on December 30, 2011 in child reading blog with No Comments

Get help. The holidays are a great time to come around family and multilingual families need to rely on each other to practice their minority language. Children need exposure from a number of different sources in order to see the importance of their multilingualism. There is no better way than interaction. Whether it’s by finding a local Spanish mom’s group (dad’s allowed) or through extended family the result is the same. More exposure equals more success.

Cook some traditional meals. The traditional meals are so different from Spanish speaking country to Spanish speaking country that this task can be a real treat. With so many flavors to try this can quickly generate interest from the whole family. Make sure everyone has input on the dish and everyone helps in cooking. When children are involved they are more likely to participate in the end result (however good or bad that may actually be).

Spend some time with books. Your local library has tons of books. There’s no need to purchase expensive books to teach a foreign language. While some are better than others. Most of it is really decided by you as a parent and what you feel your child will like and appreciate. The range of Spanish books is vast. Books can be funny, sad, instructional, colorful, playful, short, very short, way too long and virtually anywhere in between. Check them out for yourself (pun fully intended) at your local library.

Stand for something. Alexander Hamilton said he who stands for nothings, will fall for anything. Oftentimes parents get discouraged. Everybody gets discouraged. Sometimes we forget as parents, we’re human too. The struggle can get tough for parents, especially those dealing with older children and exposing those children Spanish. It becomes all too easy to give in. And many parents do. This year, re-energize, get the help you need and pursue your goal. It’s a worthy cause, stay strong.

Get to know your child. How does little David feel about learning a new language? Does he like it? If he does, why? If he doesn’t, why? What would he change? It’s important to take a pause, take a step back and make sure we are providing the right guidance and lessons at the right time. Parenting is all about figuring out the right compromise. There is no better way for kids to learn Spanish than by customized, personalized lessons.

Ditch the lesson plan. Take your child to the zoo as part of a language learning fieldtrip. Discuss the native continents of specific animals, a quick google search will tell you all you need to know to discuss how connected we are as a world and highlight the importance of being exposed to multiple facets of that world.

Variety. Mix different ways of learning. As the years wears on we often get stuck in teaching Spanish in the same ole’ way. This year vow to make it more diverse. There are suggestions all over internet for fun activities.

Have fun. Learning a new language doesn’t have to be hard work. In fact, kids love to learn Spanish. But it’s up to you as parent to make it fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. Oftentimes, I recommend parents stop before the child wants to stop watching the video or reading the book. The results of keeping your child interested are amazing. They’ll want to come back over and over.

Comments are closed