My son Santiago suffers from second child syndrome. Have you ever heard of that? It refers to how most second children don’t get the same kind of attention first children get. It’s not like I’m neglecting Santiago or anything like that, I just haven’t done the same sort of things I did with Vanessa at his age.
For starters, I’ve been working full-time since right before he turned one, which means I haven’t had nearly as much free time with him as I had with her. We also stopped going to our bilingual children meetup once Vanessa started kindergarten, so Santiago never really got the chance to make any friends in the group. I’ve also noticed I don’t read to him as much as I read to her, although luckily, now that Vanessa knows how to read, she does a lot of the reading and Santiago loves it.
Then, the other day he was giving me a hard time while I was trying to get him dressed for preschool when I decided to start singing “Arroz con leche” just out of the blue. Santiago LOVES music like no other child I’ve met and I was amazed that my singing worked wonders since he immediately came to me and let me get him dressed. But it broke my heart to realize that even though he wanted, he couldn’t follow along because he didn’t know the lyrics.
How is is possible that my 3-year-old son can’t sing “Arroz con leche“? I felt terrible so I continued singing to see what other traditional children’s songs in Spanish he didn’t know. “Los pollitos dicen“? Barely. “Aserrín, aserrán“? Not a clue. “Tengo una muñeca“? Never heard of it. Seems like “Pimpón” was the only one he knew almost in its entirety.
At his age, Vanessa knew how to sing all of the songs above and many more. I know it’s not the end of the world because I can still teach them to him, but it just got me thinking how crazy it is that I didn’t even realize he hasn’t really heard them all that much.
Music is such a great way of enriching a bilingual child’s vocabulary — and in Santiago’s case even more so since he’s so in love with music. So now we’re making sure we listen to all the CD’s we have with traditional children’s music in Spanish. Santiago has a CD player in his room, so I’ve just started playing these songs whenever we’re in his room and he’s totally into them.
Teaching my son these traditional songs reminds me of my own childhood, and I can only hope that one day, when he becomes a dad, he’ll sing them to his child and remember his own childhood. By the way, if you don’t remember all the lyrics, there’s an amazing site called Mama Lisa’s Wolrd which includes all of them (with English translations) divided by country. Besides songs, you can also find nursery rhymes from all over the world. I promise that once you visit, you’ll be hooked and you’ll remember even more traditional children’s songs in Spanish.
The two CDs we play the most in our house are Canciones Infantiles and Canciones Infantiles del Tiempo de la Abuela.
And here’s a list of some of our other favorite CD’s with children’s music in Spanish:
- Music With Sara
- Salsa for Kittens & Puppies
- Caramba Kids
- Moona Luna
- Sones de México Ensemble
- Cha Cha Cha: Canciones Infantiles
- Chakuchukuchá-Bilingual Latin Beats
- The SpanglishBaby YouTube Musica Playlist
thank you for writing this post and including all those songs that i just realized i don’t sing to my son!!
Glad you liked it! The two CD’s I listed include all of the traditional songs I grew up with and more. They’re definitely worth checking out to bring back all those memories!
Thanks for the list!
As a non-native speaker I don’t have these songs in my past. And my husband is a native speaker but when our son was born and I asked him to teach me children’s songs, he simply didn’t know any. I think his childhood was very short
So a list is helpful!
I have a couple of CDs that have taught me several kids’ songs and find that not only does my son love them… it really helps me too! By the time I’m able to make my mouth work fast enough to sing along with the CD, Marco has heard it so many times he’s learned the song
Also — it’s amazing what singalong songs can do when a short person is having a meltdown at the end of a long day, you just want to take him into your arms and snuggle him, but he’s strapped into a car seat and you have to battle traffic
Yes, Beth! I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, but Santiago responds really well to music. It’s my new tactic for sure
I take him to a Music Together lesson every week, but the majority of the songs are in English and he has pretty much learned them all by heart. I guess I just assumed he knew all these traditional songs in Spanish.
Thank you for song ideas! I’m a non-native speaker and know very few songs in Spanish and in a pinch end up singing “brilla, brilla, estrellita” over and over again! I wanted to share a CD I found and love that never gets old. It’s called “Un pato en Nueva York” by Ines Canepa. Great, fun, unique canciones en espanol!
I recommend you check out some of the CD’s on the list. Like I said, the two I mentioned above are full of traditional children’s songs, the kind most Latin American and Spanish kids grow up with…
And thanks for mentioning “Un pato en Nueva York”… we did a review of both the book and the CD a couple of years ago: http://spanglishbaby.com/finds/books-libros-un-pato-en-nueva-york-giveaway/
Thank you for this post! I was a native speaker, but growing up my parents refused to speak spanish to us in order for us to integrate easily without an accent (my father has a very thick accent, which makes it difficult for people to understand him). Now that I have my boy, I still want him to appreciate that he is Puerto Rican, and despite his father or I not being able to speak fluent spanish, I can still sing to him in spanish.
Yes, Alexandra! Anything helps and music is a great and fun way to expose kids to Spanish!
You might want to check the Mama Lisa’s World link I included to get the lyrics and be able to sing even more songs!
My husband is Puerto Rican too and I love a lot of the nursery rhymes and finger plays sung to kids over there. I wrote about it here: http://spanglishbaby.com/2009/05/traditional-songs-finger-plays-for-your-bilingual-baby/
Gracias! Sólo leer los nombres de las canciones me devolvió a mi infancia, a cuando mi abuelita me cantaba, y me dio melancolía al pensar que yo no las he cantado ni una vez a mi chiquito. Estoy siguiendo el blog desde hace un par de semanas y quiero felicitarlas, es una fuente de información maravillosa.
¡Qué bueno que nos hayas encontrado y que te guste la información que has encontrado!
Me alegra saber que el post te recordó a tu abuelita y recuerda que nunca es tarde, así que comienza a cantarle las canciones a tu chiquitín y así le pasas un poco de tu abuelita…
Thanks for the list! Ill have to check all those out.
I’ve always loved music and always sang songa to my daughter in spanisg, most that my mom sang to me and my siblings.
I have a couple of recomendations, growing up I listened to a Record ( yeah those big round black ones) from a local publisher from my country in Dominican Republic called “Tra-la-la”.I recently aske my mom and she bought me the CD version, which has exactly the same songs even the same drawing design it had when I was little. I play it every morning on the way to my daughters day care and she loves it and signs alond the whole ride.
Also my husbands grandma sent my daugher a DVD from Puerto Rivo from a local group that plays childrens sogns and does live shows called “Atencion Atencion”, she loved to watch it and dance and sing along.
So both are highly recomendad if you can get your hands on them.
Today I realized that I always sing the same songs to my daughter (pinpon, los pollitos dicen, aserrin, la pastora and mi escuelita) while this seems like alot specially for her age (15 months) I was starting to feel like one of these days I need to learn new songs. This list is so helpful. I will check all your suggestions out. Gracias!
Thank you for sharing! I wish I would have done this sooner, but it’s never to late! I am going to introduce the website to my fellow dual language parents!
A mi hijo de 16 meses le encanta la música. Entre sus preferidos están el CD “La casita de Lucrecia”, que trae canciones de siempre como El alacrán-cran-cran, María Moñitos, Meñique y el DVD de Liuba M. Hevia “Entre locos bajitos”, con clásicos infantiles y canciones compuestas por esta cantautora. Tanto Lucrecia como Liuba son músicas cubanas reconocidas internacionalmente. Las canciones del primer CD se pueden escuchar aquí http://es.7digital.com/artist/lucrecia/release/la-casita-de-lucrecia-canciones-cuentos-y-la-peli
Excellent, what a web site it is! This weblog gives valuable data to us, keep it up.
I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This post
posted at this web site is genuinely nice.
Visit us online for the best selection and just click and we ship same day for
your new PVC Cat Furniture. Select the toys
that you want to add to the cat tree then attach them where
you want them to hang. Some will even consist of perches where your feline can sleep
and you can find others that have hanging toys built regularly into them.
I am looking for origin/history of El patio de mi casa. Would you know. I appreciate anything you can share. My class is doing this song for Cinco de Mayo and I need a little introduction for it. What would you suggest. Mary
Appreciating the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you offer.
It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while
that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Great read!
I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS
feeds to my Google account.