As the year come to an end I feel compelled to look for more ways to bring more bilingual joy into our life and to strengthen my commitment to raise a bilingual child and keep my culture’s flame burning to open my son’s mind to a world of endless possibilities, since I also continue to bring Hispanic heritage into the mix!
As any busy parent, I see myself conflicted between spending the little time left during the day with crazy bilingual maneuvers…..but you know, after being a few days home with no work, I realized it is all worth it and I not only contributing for my son’s education, by introducing foreign languages to him, but also filling his spirit with rich traditions in the books we read together, in the food I so carefully prepare and in my attempts to keep my mother language and Spanish alive in our home!
My husband is an American and does not speak a foreign language, although he has been talking about learning Portuguese, which made me very happy, but I must confess, I would have to find an instructor to teach him and I will help bring the language alive at home, that is one of my goals for 2013!
Another goal is to work harder on using a foreign language at home and bringing things like music, which my son loves, closer to us, so we keep the foreign language flame burning!
My son attends a Christian school and latin is taught until 6th grade, so I have no help there to keep his Spanish skills sharp! He attends most of our summer camps, which brings him an amazing amount of knowledge but it slowly goes away as the year passes and I see myself divided between Portuguese and Spanish at home…..you know, always conflicted!
So instead of worrying about being conflicted, another new year’s resolution is to keep doing what I have been doing and bring more in 2013; I would love to see my son speaking Portuguese fluently by the time we travel to Brazil in August! He speaks short sentences but we need to take it to the next level and establish a more consistent conversation!
I do want to share what I already do and has proven to show results, whether you are starting or just wondering how to start! Please share if you try some of our ideas on how to bring bilingual joy into your home, even if you don’t speak the foreign language!
Yes, I set time aside! We have Spanish night, Tuesday Tacos! When I cook a Hispanic meal and we speak Spanish at the table, I also read some of my books I am using in my classes during our bed time time, he watches me prepare classes at night on my computer, so he watches and listens to videos! I also have a long playlist on my ipad and iphone, so when I’m home cleaning the house, guess what, only Spanish or Portuguese music on!
Failing is not an option! There are no wrong or rights, every effort is worth it! You must find time, but above all, make it fun, so it is not a chore for you and your children! It’s easier for me because I have all the books and activities at my finger tips but I wanted to share some resources: go to my blog: www.easylearnlanguages.com, search for a themes, each theme has suggestions on things to do, songs and videos to watch. We need to do age appropriate and keep them engaged. Also if you and your husband are native speaker, it’s easier, make a point to bring the language and establish a reward chart if they are reluctant to reply in Spanish, every reply worth a star!
Books are a great option for spending time with your child and bringing bilingual love at bed time! You can find books here in our store and also at Barnes and Noble, my two best sources for buying new bilingual books!
Videos are a must! Today’s children are connected with technology, tv, shows, so youtube becomes your first option for new videos, itunes also offers many apps to bring bilingual practice and games to your little or not so little ones! I will be sharing my favorite apps next year, stay tuned!
We also make a Brazilian dish once a week and I share memories! Memories of my childhood and memories that the food evokes…This week we made brigadeiros, recipe available on: www.kcocina.com and also made a typical Bahian meal with muqueca and farofa de manteiga, not one morsel left!! I shared how my mom used to make this meal and all about dende oil and how it was brought by African slaves to our culinary mix! Use of dende oil is typical of north of Brazil, not found in most Brazilian restaurants in the US, so my meal brings an unique experience to my son!!! I was so proud to see him enjoying every bite! Muito Bom!
The Brigadeiros are a must on every birthday party in Brazil, another great addition to our new year’s munch table! Recipes here: http://kcocina.com/latina-cuisine/brigadeiros-brazilian-truffles/
I hope my suggestions and my experience has helped you continue to do more or start to make 2013 an amazing bilingual year! Please share if you use some of our suggestions???
….And remember, there is no wrong when you put effort and love to bring bilingual love into your home! Feliz Ano Novo!
Claudia K. –
A multilingual Mom, foreign language instructor and owner of EasyLearn Languages