Trying to raise bilingual kids? No need to figure it out on your own. Here are 5 must-have resources that can help…
For many bicultural Latinas, like me, bilingualism is a fluid state of ability. While any monolingual speaker would consider me bilingual, it’s hard to pass as a native speaker with my Latino counterparts. I do my best to maintain my abilities to communicate, but sometimes life gets the best of me. The business of motherhood has become a hurdle in raising bilingual kids, too. We live in English, but my heart truly yearns for my children to own the language of their Latino heritage.
Regardless of how successful one may be, there are resources that can help the bicultural Latina struggling to raise bilingual kids. Here are 5 of them:
1. “Bilingual is Better’ by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto is a must-have read for a parent looking to walk the path of raising bilingual kids. Their online resource, SpanglishBaby.com is also a great starting point and a wealth of information.
2. A community of support. Some kids are lucky to grow up within a familia of language immersion. For them, growing up bilingual is a fate supported by their cousins and grandparents. But for those of us who are not so lucky, look to mom groups, playdates, or other environments in which language immersion is the focus — for you and the kids!
3. Multimedia resources. From television shows, music or children’s book, you can find amazing multimedia resources that are bilingual. By bilingual, I mean in both English and Spanish. This is especially helpful for the bicultural Latina mom who isn’t completely fluent herself. We really love Kumon’s Spanish workbooks — their straightforward curriculum is popular with homeschoolers for a reason!
4. Dual language immersion schools. Depending on the state in which you live, enrolling your child in a dual language educational program might be a great way to promote bilingualism. There’s a plethora of research out there that demonstrates the benefits these programs have when facilitated properly. This is one area my family is actively seeking to reach our language goals.
5. Travel. Who said travel was only to relax poolside? When you’re planning that next family vacation, think about destinations in which you can support your kid’s growing language abilities. Language is everywhere — it’s what connects us as humans — so make your vacation memories in a place that reinforces your appreciation of bilingualism.
Whether you’re fully bilingual and biliterate, according to monolingual English speakers, the global society at large — or just another bicultural Latina with a hyphenated identity and language ability — you can raise bilingual kids. And having the right resources, combined with the dedication required, will definitely aid in your goals.
Photo credit: Vanessa Bell