Bilingual is Better

A New Year's Resolution That I Hope Will Keep My Kids Bilingual

My kids are too little to understand what New Year’s resolutions are all about, so I’m making just one for them. I’ve never been too much into resolutions because they’re so hard to keep, but this one is of extreme importance, and I plan on doing everything in my power to make it a reality in 2014 and in the years to come.

You see, my kids have started doing something I dreaded ever since Santiago was born: they are speaking English to each other. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is because they’re already surrounded by enough English on a daily basis for it to be the language of choice between them. While I knew this was inevitable, I wasn’t expecting it to happen until later on in their lives. After all, Santiago is only 4 and I don’t really think he’s fully bilingual just yet. I mean, his English has exploded in the last year since he started going to preschool full time, but his vocabulary continues to be much more extensive in Spanish.

Even so, Vanessa and him seem to prefer speaking in English more and more lately. I don’t think they’ve made a conscious decision or anything like that and it’s not like English is the only language they use to communicate, but I’ve noticed it’s their language of choice, especially when they’re playing.

So, in more than one occasion I’ve had to remind them that we only speak Spanish at home. I must admit I’ve felt a bit bad saying that to them even though I’ve made sure not to say it in a negative or reprimanding way, but I feel like if I don’t put a stop to it now, it’ll very soon be a lost battle.

I realize that, as they get older, there may not be much I can do to enforce the “Spanish only” rule at home, but for now, I have to do everything I can. They haven’t really complained about it, but I feel like I have to be on top of it all the time because they seem to forget. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid: for them to feel like speaking English to each other is the most natural thing in the world.

I know some may not agree and even criticize me for what I’m doing, but my kids’ first language is Spanish and I plan on doing everything in my power to keep it that way as long as possible.

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