4 Helpful Tips on Raising a Bilingual Child

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Hi Linda fans! Did you know I have a bilingual preschooler? My son goes to pre-school 4 days a week. He is learning so much and it’s great! However, he is constantly speaking more English now and it was making it more difficult for him to learn my native language, Spanish. Sure he understand what I’m saying, but I was getting concerned he was not speaking it back as much. I’m from the Dominican Republic, but was raised here in the U.S. I learned to read, write and speak Spanish growing up, and am motivating my son to do the same. With these 4 helpful tips I created, learning Spanish soon became fun instead of a tedious process for him.

 

1. Learning a second language should be fun! Music time!

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Romeo Santos (Anthony Santos)

Talk to your child as much as you can in your native language. It will get to a point that they understand everything you are saying, and begin speaking it more. Now, if you have a stubborn child, like mine, who understands but answers you in English lol, tell them to speak to you in the language you are speaking. If they don’t know how to say the word, say it to them, and ask them to repeat it back. I also suggest playing a lot of music of your native country, if you want them to learn faster. It helps speed up the learning  process. For example, in my country the Dominican republic, Bachata is huge.

You may have possibly heard of Romeo Santos, a famous bachatero here in the U.S who preforms many songs with mainstream artists like Drake and even Usher. So I constantly play Romeo and many others. He really loves the music and even asks for me to please play or sing to him. He actually knows how to sing and play piano like me, but does it when no one else is around lol. I do so many Spanish karaokes that he actually sings the choruses with me!

 

2. Read aloud

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Get Spanish books from your local library, ones that translate English and Spanish on the same page. Read aloud to your child, pausing periodically and asking them if they understand what you just read to them. If they give you a blank stare, break the words down so that they can understand it easier. Baby steps! Also allow them to pick out books in Spanish that they may like, and read together everyday. Little sacrifices go a long way, and soon your child will be reading to you!

 

3. Traditional Cooking Dishes

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Cook traditional dishes from your country so that they can learn more about different native foods. Translate what you are using. For example, la cuchara (the spoon) is used to stir the rice. That’s what I’ve been doing. I tell my son the dish in Spanish. He now knows what many of the dishes we prepare are. Have them help you by telling them to hand you a certain object to you in your language.  However, don’t forget to translate the object, to avoid a frustrated child.

4. Coloring and Writing

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Color or paint  pictures with your child. My 4 year old son loves to color and does very good at it. He’s even writing his name!  My son drew a picture of a tree outside and kids playing catch. He told me what they were doing and I translated it to him and asked him to repeat it back. Los niños juegan con la pelota (the children play with the ball).  You can even write certain words out for them to trace or copy, that way, they can learn to spell the words they are saying.

To wrap it up…

Reading, coloring and even traditional cooking dishes are all great ways to help the ball rolling on raising a bilingual child. It’s never too late to start and it’s very rewarding. I learned to read, write, and speak Spanish with my mother and Father. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment or ask Linda below, thank you!

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