Garanimals Blog

August 20th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Tips to Keep Your Kids Bilingual When They Go Back to School

My children are not lucky enough to attend a dual language immersion school. That means they are surrounded by English pretty much all day long once they go back to school. Nothing wrong with that, except that it makes it a lot harder when you’re trying to raise bilingual kids.

If you’re raising your children with more than one language, there are several things you can do to make sure they don’t forget their second language once they go back to school.

Here are some of the things we do in my household:

  • First and foremost, talk to your children in Spanish. In my house, my kids know that as soon as they get home from school, they have to switch to Spanish because that is the language we speak at home.
  • Make sure you’re reading to them in Spanish as much as possible. My daughter has to read for 20 minutes, so I let her do that in English. Then, we spend another 10 minutes with me reading something to her in Spanish.
  • If you let your kids watch movies, use the Spanish track so that they watch them in their second language. They may not like it at first, but they’ll quickly get used to it.
  • Same thing if you let your kids use your tablet. My kids are allowed to use mine only if they play apps in Spanish. They can play some in English too, but first they have agree to play the ones that helps them practice their Spanish.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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