Spanish Not Your Native Language? You Can Still Raise Bilingual Kids! -

First in an occasional series…

Since we all have different stories to tell and our own ways of raising our kids bilingual, from time to time, we will invite a guest to contribute to SpanglishBaby. Today, we introduce you to the first one. We hope you enjoy it!

The following is a guest post written by Karen:  Spanish learner, mother of two boys and blogger at Teaching and Learning Spanish.

I have to admit that it is difficult to teach Spanish when it’s not your native language, but it is doable. It takes more effort, but the rewards are worth it. Fortunately, I am knowledgeable in the language since I have a BA in Spanish, but I earned that degree back in 1993. After graduation, I didn’t really use the language, but then started studying on my own about five years ago because I wanted to teach it to my two boys, who are now six and nine.

I have discovered that I take a very informal approach when it comes to teaching Spanish to my children. I try to use it on a daily basis and in context. For example, when my younger son is setting the table, we talk about what everyone will need and what we’re eating that evening. I do all of this in Spanish and he responds either through his actions or by words–one word here or there, but he definitely comprehends what I am saying.  Another example is when they get in the car after school, I ask them about their day in Spanish. So, overall they get a good dose of the language every day.

Read: How Can a Non-Native Help Her Child Become Bilingual?

Also, we listen to podcasts together such as Cody’s Cuentos and some of the podcasts (newbie, elementary levels) from SpanishPod.  My older son really seems to enjoy those. After we listen to them, I try to use some of the key vocabulary we learned to help them remember the new words. I also try to incorporate technology in their learning of the language. For instance, my younger son has started doing the activities on Foreign Language Friends. This program has definitely peaked his interest in the language.

In the car, in addition to podcasts, we like to listen to the Professor Pocket CDs and when I say “we” I really mean “we.” I can honestly say I enjoy listening to these CDs with the boys. We also listen to music by Jarabe de Palo, Maná, and others Spanish-speaking bands.

Read: I am not fluent in my child’s second language

Again, it really takes quite a bit of effort on my part to do this. There are times when I get frustrated like when I can’t remember a word or phrase. I try not to let that bother me too much, though. In the end, the fact that they are getting exposure to a different language is what is most important.

Read: Advice for Non-Native Speakers Teaching Their Kids Spanish?

Are you learning Spanish to teach it to your children? We invite you to share your story and tips with us.

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{Photo by Photo by mikecogh}

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