While I grew up in a bilingual household, I never really picked up speaking a second language until I was well into my twenties. It’s something I of course regret, but rather than pouting about it and blaming this person or that, I decided that as a parent I am going to try my best to have my children become little polyglots in the making. With our world becoming smaller with technology and social networking, I would be doing my children a disservice if I didn’t at least try to introduce them to different cultures and languages in the best way that I can.
The problem, though, is that not everything goes as planned in life. When I try speaking to my children in Polish, they respond in English. Dora obviously knows how to do this better than me. We’ve enrolled our 4-year-old daughter in both Spanish and Polish classes, and while she’s doing a great job of singing the days of the week and reciting nursery rhymes, I wanted to take it a step further.
Along with my husband, we decided that we are only going to allow our children to watch television if it’s in a foreign language. Luckily for us, we have the Dish Network International Satellite and for an additional $24 a month, our children are watching Baby TV in Polish, and you know what I love it! Actress and celebrity mom Gwyneth Paltrow recently mentioned in an interview that she only allows her children to watch cartoons in French and Spanish, so I figured why not, let’s try it, too. And while I of course don’t expect them to become fluent by watching a few cartoons in a different language, if my children are going to have some downtime with the television, they might as well learn something from it.
And while I’m sure that I’ll have my critics out there telling me that I should my children how to communicate in a second language myself rather than putting them in front of a television set, I’ll say this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing your children to have a little down time in front of the tube while getting chores done around the house that would be otherwise impossible to do. My parents did it with my sister and me and gasp we survived. And plus, I’m learning, too! And with the free previews that the international dish provides every few weeks, it’s kind of fun to clean your house while listening to the latest Italian hits or watching Bollywood movies without understanding much of what they’re saying. There’s only so much programming that we can take from TLC and the Real Housewives on Bravo, right? And plus, there’s nothing better than watching endless hours of Japanese game shows late at night. * Wink *
Check out more of what Joanna says at The Bambulino Project Blog