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  • Maria Fernanda Sanchez, Educational Specialist at PVT

Encouraging Early Bilingualism: What to Do If You Don't Speak Spanish

Updated: May 27

If you don't speak Spanish but still want to raise bilingual children, don't worry—you can still play a crucial role in their language learning journey.

Non-Spanish Parents learning with their kids
A father and his son are learning Spanish together.

Here are some strategies and advice to help you support your child in becoming bilingual, even if you are not fluent in the second language yourself.

Learning Spanish along with your child can be a rewarding experience for both of you. Not only does it demonstrate the importance of bilingualism, but it also provides a shared activity that strengthens your bond.

You'll reap the cognitive benefits of learning a new language, just like your child.

Here are some practical steps for non-Spanish-speaking Parents

  1. Enroll in Spanish Classes: Many community centers, libraries, and online platforms offer Spanish classes for all ages. Enroll in a beginner’s course to get started.

  2. Use Language Learning Apps and Resources There are numerous apps designed for children that make learning Spanish fun and interactive. Apps like Gus on the Go, Lingokids, and Duolingo Kids can provide an excellent starting point.

  3. Hire a Tutor or Join a Language Group: If possible, hire a Spanish tutor or join a local language group. Regular practice with a native speaker can significantly enhance your child’s language skills.

  4. Bilingual Storytime and Books: Even if you're not fluent, you can read bilingual books to your child. Many libraries offer bilingual storytime sessions, and there are countless Spanish-English children's books available.

  5. Cultural Immersion: Attend Hispanic cultural events, festivals, and activities. Engaging with the culture where the language is spoken can make learning more relevant and enjoyable for your child.

  6. Watch TV and Listen to Music in Spanish: Incorporate Spanish-language media into your daily routine. Watch children's shows and listen to songs in Spanish together. This helps with pronunciation and familiarizes your child with the rhythm and sounds of the language.

  7. Language Exchange Playdates: Find other parents who are also interested in bilingualism and arrange playdates where children can practice Spanish together. This social aspect can make learning more enjoyable.

  8. Use Visual Aids and Labels: Label items around your home in both languages. Use flashcards, posters, and other visual aids to reinforce vocabulary.

  9. Incorporate Spanish into Daily Routines: Use simple Spanish phrases and words during daily activities. For instance, say "buenos días" (good morning) when your child wakes up or "vamos a comer" (let's eat) at mealtime.

  10. Be Patient and Consistent: Language learning is a gradual process. Encourage your child and celebrate their progress, no matter how small. Consistency is key, so make Spanish a regular part of your daily routine.

By following these steps, you can help your children become strong bilinguals, opening up a world of opportunities for them. Early bilingualism is more than just learning another language; it's about fostering cognitive growth, embracing diversity, and building multicultural competency. Learning another language is a powerful tool for your children in this increasingly competitive world. Start your bilingual journey today and watch your children thrive in more ways than one!

Written by Maria Sanchez, Educational Specialist at Pura Vida Talk


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