As a mom of three (2 “tweens” and a teen) I can assure you that I have a healthy level of mommy guilt. Of course I do. And I know you do too… So, when I hear that you are also feeling guilty about your child not being bilingual….yet,I say this….LET IT GO!  ¡Basta! Do we really need to add another item to our “feel guilty about” list?  ¡Claro que NO!  And here is why…The ideal is just that…an ideal. We would love to live in a country where a second, third or fourth language is valued. But we don’t.  How about live in a region where dual immersion programs were abundant and we don’t have a three-year wait list just to make it into a lottery.  We don’t. The reality is that bilingual programs are popular but are scarce and the demand is great. So that leaves us with taking things into our own hands. And trust me, our hands are good hands!  ¡Las mejores! The best! So, whether it’s when your child is an infant or when she is about to enter those tween years…YOU have the ability to make a difference in facilitating bilingualism.  So LET IT GO and repeat after me: “I will not feel guilty about my child not being bilingual…yet.

Here are three things you can do right now!

1.   Research!

We are resourceful!!   As my great friend says…”We live in a world of abundance”. ¡Face it!  We parents can find classes, books, activities, playgroups, etc, instantly. And we do. We are fully equipped with the tools we need to find a bilingual setting that will help us help our children become bilingual. Social interaction is vital with language acquisition and there are an abundant amount of resources at our fingertips! Narrow it down by your town or county, look into camps for holidays, vacations and summers! Start your own playgroup or hangout!  Ask a teacher or bilingual parent for help! Library and Bookstore story-times can be bilingual too. Just Ask! And Google! Try these….www.spanishplayground.net , www.meetup.com, www.miscositas.com

2. Do it together!

Why not learn alongside your child? Warning… if you have a tween this is going to be a little tricky but share with them that you want to learn and you need their help. ¡Andale! Listen to an interview in the car pool, watch a movie together, scan the radio stations for the target language songs, or take your tween to dinner and practice!  Find something that is age appropriate and relevant to your tween/teen. Trust me it will be less mortifying for them!  Its never to late and they will thank you…in about 10 to 15 years! 😉

3. Make it culturally relevant!

Field trips are wonderful opportunities to visit landmarks that are culturally and historically significant. Language and culture are intimately connected and folding culture into your language lessons or activities will help deepen an appreciation for people and history.  Museums, parks, gardens, landmarks, missions….

¡Ay Bendito, there is no shortage of day tripping places you can visit and engage in mini language lessons. Ask for a tour guide that speaks the target language…talk about comprehensible input! ¡Claro!! Take time to compare your culture/background and heritage with that of the target language community. Point out differences and similarities….you and your child might be surprised at the things we have in common with other people!

Let it go! ¡Déjalo Ir! Let go of the guilt and make a plan with your family that involves everyone, is culturally relevant and start today. It is never ever too late! Just repeat after me…”My child is not bilingual YET!” ¡Todavia, pero pronto, Sí!

Abrazos,

Irma

 

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