Bilingual is Better

Last week was a major whirlwind as I traveled with my mom and my girl to Florida to attend two different conferences: Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando and Mom 2.0 Summit in Key Biscayne. I rarely ever take my family to conferences, but this seemed like a great opportunity for Camila to bond and reconnect with her abuelita, and it was just logistically the best way to go.

Why do I even attend these conferences, you may ask? Well, the truth is that one of my biggest blogging secrets is attending conferences. The investment made in them really comes back to SpanglishBaby and this huge familia in the way of opportunities, blogging lessons to continually grow and hone our skills and connecting with other like-minded bloggers.

These two conferences in particular took it to another level and inspired me to think of the ways I’m using—or wasting!—my time; how I’m taking care of myself as a caregiver and self-motivated entrepreneur; how we’re giving back to our community and advocating for social change; and how our children are learning from who we are and how we act.

It’s the last phrase above that really hit home for me and I realized a lot of these messages apply directly to parents raising bilingual kids and that extra layer of dutifulness that applies to our parenting styles.

Armed with my Window’s Live Suite of products on my Lenovo IdeaPad U300 (Giveaway Alert Here!!), I sat down at the opening keynote of the Mom 2.0 Summit and captured and organized on OneNote the best quotes from two exceptional speakers: Brené Brown—a research expert on shame and vulnerability– and Jess Weiner—an expert on girl’s body image.

Check out their quotes below and how I interpret them through our lens of bilingual parenting.

Brené Brown

Are you your child’s worse critic? When she walks into a room do you light up when you see her, or do you criticize?

Have you noticed if you spend more time praising your child for speaking in Spanish (or the minority language of choice) or criticizing her? This is an important reflection to make because if your child is feeling constantly nagged and criticized by you in a desperate urge to get him to respond, then what we’re doing is creating a spirit of rebellion in him. Language immersion should be fun, natural, playful and full of praise.

We can not give our children what we don’t have.

Please do not interpret this to mean that if you don’t speak Spanish you can’t teach your child. The way I interpret it is that if we don’t have a passion, urge, DESIRE for our children to learn, then they won’t feel it either. And, one of the keys for teaching a child a language is that they must have a perceived need for it. They must want it and understand the why of their want. For example, when my girl is speaking way too much English at home, I remind her that it’s a shame she’s not speaking Spanish because her adored prima won’t understand her. Gets her every time.

Who we are is a much more accurate predictor to how our kids will turn out.

Do you love and absorb cultures and languages? Maybe you’re not fluent in Spanish, but you could learn alongside your child and make it something special between the two of you?

Jess Weiner

Matching intentions with action is where real change comes.

It’s not enough to want and have the best intentions to raise a bilingual child, you must have a clear and concise plan of action and you must be consistent with it. There’s no way around this one. You must be active every single day in making sure your child gets the right exposure to the language. You do this by buying bilingual/Spanish books, joining or starting bilingual playgroups, finding immersion schools, etc. Your actions may also involve immersion travel, actively seeking out cultural events in your city, making sure your child has a Spanish speaking family member or caregiver she connects to, and so much more.

Change is slow and never looks like a reality show reveal.

Oh, this is so true for bilingual children and we haven’t talked about this enough! Many parents give up speaking to their kids in the minority language at home because their kids start responding to them in English. Don’t do that! It’s only a phase and it totally depends on the language input she’s had so far. But you must remain the consistent source of Spanish and they will eventually come around.

Women are the biggest keepers of our own happiness and disappointments.

Simple. Want your child to be bilingual? It’s totally up to you and the decisions you make. We wholeheartedly believe bilingualism is the biggest gift you can give your child.

I did it because the vision was bigger than my fear.

Don’t believe all the myths surrounding bilingualism which are fueled by ignorance, social injustice and more fear. Remain strong to your vision of raising a healthy, educated, well-rounded bilingual child and your payoff will be a lifetime gift for your child.

My passion is to be a storyteller for social change.

This one hit me personally. The SpanglishBaby familia shares all these stories with you every week because we believe in this movement of social change towards a bilingual nation where every child’s voice will be heard, respected and adored.

I'm a Windows Champion!Thanks to the Windows Team for making these insights possible through their belief in what we do and sponsoring me to attend the Mom 2.0 Summit. Not only did this sponsorship allow me to listen to amazing and inspiring women and learn from them, but also to spend time with the two women that inspire me the most in life: mi mamá y mi hija.

And speaking of Windows, have you entered to win a Lenovo IdeaPad U300 courtesy of Windows? It ends this Sunday, so enter here now.

{All images courtesy of Michael Cummings of dreaminpictures.com}

 

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