As a stay-at-home mom who also works, I’ve learned that balancing the rigors of professional responsibility with the joys of parenting is impossible to do alone. Days would end with little completed, too many things started and stress trying to manage it all. I needed help!
While it took a long time to admit that a regular nanny or babysitter was needed, the ability to trust someone to care for my babies when I occasionally traveled for work was even more difficult. We eventually found a nanny that not only kept our kids happy and safe, but also reinforced many of the values I hold dear to our family legacy like cultural traditions and language.
One of the most important factors in our nanny hiring decision? That she was bilingual and spoke Spanish exclusively to our children. If you are thinking of hiring a bilingual nanny, consider these top 5 pros and cons for hiring a bilingual nanny.
Pro: Reinforces cultural heritage. As a Latina mom, it’s important that my children grow up knowing their cultural heritage. Doing this without family nearby to assist you can be a daunting task, though. Hiring a bilingual nanny can be just one more way to help accomplish this goal.
Con: Communication may be difficult if you’re not bilingual. This is by far the biggest con I see for moms hiring a bilingual nanny that are not bilingual themselves. It’s important to have open communication with your children’s caregiver, so be sure that your bilingual nanny is in fact bilingual (has the ability to speak two languages) and that both of you feel comfortable in the arrangement. And since so much happens via text these days, don’t forget about written communication!
Pro: Opportunity to improve your own language skills. While Spanish is actually my first language, hiring a bilingual nanny has helped improve my language skills with daily practice opportunities. Without our bilingual nanny or Spanish-speaking family nearby, months would go by without me having the chance to speak Spanish.
Con: Lengthy time commitment to language immersion. If you’re hiring a bilingual nanny to help raise bilingual children, you should be ready for that commitment. Your reinforcement will only help solidify those language skills. While kids pick up language quicker than adults, knowing that Mom is supportive and engaged in their nanny’s language will certainly go a long way when it comes to your children’s excitement for learning the language.
Pro: Smarter kids. Search the web and you’ll find various studies on the topic with often, conflicting results, but then when it comes to cognitive development in later years, kids who are bilingual score higher in tests. I love this informative, yet straight to the point, book by two Latina moms, Bilingual is Better, on why they chose to raise bilingual kids.
Con: Slower language development in toddlers. A common concern that is often cited is slower language development in toddlers. This concern is also noted for little ones learning sign language. Do your own research to decide if learning a second language will negatively impact your children’s overall cognitive development into adulthood.
Pro: Creates a global perspective. When you embrace the love of language and bilingualism, you are telling your children that the world is full of diverse perspectives. You are setting the tone of inclusion and teaching them that the world is filled with journeys worthy of our attention.
Con: Fewer playdates. Depending on your environment, your little ones might have less playdates with those who are not bilingual. But, maybe they won’t!
Pro: Easier to learn third and fourth languages. Studies have shown, and common sense agrees, that learning a second language makes it easier to learn additional languages as your children grow.
Con: Bilingual nannies will want to teach your children a second language. Are you ready for that? Maybe you’re not. The ultimate con in hiring a bilingual nanny is rooted in a parent’s resistance to the idea of their children speaking a language other than English.
We hired a bilingual nanny for all the reasons above, and for many others not listed — like the exposure of food cultures and traditions, the cultural affection common with Latino nannies and my desire to pass on our heritage to my biracial children. Why would you hire a bilingual nanny?
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