Raising bilingual children

No one ever said that raising (Spanish) bilingual children is an easy task. There are several challenges on the way. It might be different for each family, but we all experience some common bumps.

When English is the home’s first language, it is challenging to maintain some level of Spanish with your children. As a mother, and the only bilingual person in the family, it is difficult to keep switching back and forth between languages; it is easier [for me] to give in, at times, and resort to the most spoken language at home (English). The many and constant influences from tv, friends, and school are always working to erode my attempts to teach my kids a second language.

To promote the second language in your home, you can participate in a bilingual Meetup or Facebook group and surround yourself and your children in the language and the culture that comes with it. For Spanish, there are also TV, apps, books, and library activities you can participate in. It is not easy to get my kids involved, but as they grow, they seem to understand how important the cultural connection is enjoy learning about it.

I would advise anyone to try to keep their language alive even if you mix them. It will stay with your kids and they will have an easier time later when they are more open to learning it. Lately, traveling back to my childhood home in Columbia has given them a chance to experience the culture and language while being immersed and forced to use it.

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