Exposing my children to language is not only about speaking to them, but about the daily interactions and engagement I have with them. It is very important to me to expose both of my boys to the language and culture I learned as a child. The same language and culture that represents who I am will essentially represent who they are and will grow up to be.
I grew up in a bilingual environment, so it is easy for me to see how manageable and valuable it is to speak more than one language to my boys. My mother only speaks Spanish, and I learned English via Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, The Electric Company, and in school.
As an adult who is part of the growing demographic of bilingual families, I see firsthand the benefits of knowing two languages. I feel being bilingual has broadened my insight on just about everything, made me more of an abstract thinker and made me able to better deal with uncertainties.
So, as a parent, it is only natural to have my kids learn a second language and experience the benefits throughout their lives just as I have.
Language, like other forms of learning for children, occurs most efficiently and effectively through constant listening and reiteration. My goal for my boys is to foster language development and culture using fun, interactive and developmental toys that will help teach them valuable skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.
My bilingual teaching technique is a simple one: Make it fun. I use as much Spanish as I can in our daily routine and use the methods below to make the learning experience enjoyable for all of us.
Patience 1 of 8
We need to understand the mentality of our children before diving into anything. We need to comprehend children's brains and how they process information is way different than that of an adult. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
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Books 2 of 8
Reading to children every single day promotes speech, comprehension and language. I read anything and everything I get my hands on. The more they hear the language the more they will 'get it'.
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Fun 3 of 8
Children learn through doing things they love. So why not combine teaching into that equation. Children will be more receptive to learning new things when what you are teaching them is built into their likes and interests.
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Toys 4 of 8
The VTech's Baby's Light-Up Laptop and others that offer the same multilanguage options help with children learn through play. This toy in particular allows my little one to learn through fun animations, music, and play.
The light-up screen and nine colorful buttons (six shape buttons, three piano keys) teach letters, numbers and shapes in both English and Spanish. A very cute "mouse" character that moves in four directions, three different modes of play, and piano keys all promote imaginative play and cause and effect, and help in sensory development.
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Technology 5 of 8
Use technology not only entertain, but teach. With devices, and electronic games that promote language, we need to take advantage of the tools that are readily available to us. Apps, kid friendly tablets provide a number of ways to teach language depending on your child's learning style.
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Practice 6 of 8
The only way for your child to truly master a second or even third language is with consistency and frequency. Practice. Practice. Practice.
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Song 7 of 8
Did you know singing is an amazing way to learn language? Why? Because it is easier for kids to remember words and phrases through songs. The catchy, rhythmic melodies makes it easier memorize than just talking.
For me, I sing songs like Los pollitos dicen or Arroz con leche to teach them simple Spanish words and phrases.
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Creativity 8 of 8
Tap into your child's creativeness to teach them another language. My kids love to draw, paint and make noise (aka play instruments) and I make it a point to positivity reinforce what they love to learn, be themselves and get them thinking outside the box.
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