Coco's Blog

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 19:08

Trying To Be A Bilingual Family

Written by Coco
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On my last trip to Chicago I was reminded of how important it is for my children to learn to speak Spanish.  In our home I feel like we go through cycles where we focus more or less on learning the language.  I know in particular I find myself speaking more in Spanish to my 3 kids in the weeks leading up to a trip to see my parents in Chicago, hoping that they will pick more of it up before we make the trip to see their abuelitos.  And, of course, after our trips to see my parents I also find myself speaking more Spanish to the kids, like I have been the past two weeks.

But, sure enough, as other things take priority or as we become busy with projects, it becomes less of a priority.   Why?   Because it’s just easier to speak in English. I hate this….I always assumed that teaching my children to be bilingual would be easy.  I couldn’t understand why some children with Spanish speaking parents (or a parent, like us) were not fully bilingual.  What was so hard about teaching your child both languages?  Well, it has not been easy for our family and I am sure that some of the families that I criticized found it to be hard as well.

Dan, my husband, grew up speaking only English, his parents are not Latino.   He did, however, take a few Spanish classes in high school and college.  Spanish is my native language.  I learned English when I started Kindergarten, although I suppose I knew a little bit from watching television in English or playing with my neighborhood friends.   I am embarrassed when my kids don’t understand a relative who speaks to them in Spanish; but I also feel very happy (and relieved!) when they do….even more when they can respond in Spanish.   My husband tells me not to be so hard on myself, and I know he’s right.

I know that my kids will learn Spanish best by hearing me speak it to them as often as I can, visiting my parents often and me encouraging them to speak it.  I am also trying to get my kids to playdates with other Spanish speaking children.  I will try not to stress out about it, but we are going to try to be better about using more Spanish around our home.  It would be a shame if we didn’t.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress...

Last modified on Thursday, 22 July 2010 01:44
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