OK, I admit it… I can’t be solely responsible for my children’s bilingualism. There, I said it. I’m giving up. But not in the sense that you might think.
I will continue to speak in Spanish to them, to encourage them to read in Spanish, listening to music in Spanish, and celebrating our multicultural traditions. Perhaps even device strategies to help them engage in conversations in Spanish in a more organic way (one that doesn’t requiere constant nagging on my part).
However, I have finally understood that I cannot do it alone -even by being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.
So I’m giving up on the idea of doing it all by myself. I need reinforcements from the community and family and friends. So I have come up with an alternative plan. One where I model behavior and try to keep my kids’ bilingual and multicultural knowledge growing as they mature themselves.
I wish we had the option of enrolling them in a Spanish-immersion program but that isn’t the case right now. That’s why, I have contacted a tutor specialized in children to help me teach my children how to read and with whom they would only speak Spanish to -if only for a set period of time every week.
I encourage them to call their grandparents in Mexico as often as they can so they can practice conversation (even though they don’t know that they are doing it also for academic purposes).
I also joined a playgroup in Spanish so that my youngest one can increase the exposure to the language outside of the home.
This journey to bilingualism doesn’t stop here. It doesn’t end with the tired children who prefer to speak in their main language only. It may be a childhood-long learning experience in which breaks will now be allowed, but where the main goal of full bilingualism will always be in sight.
I’m giving up direct control over the situation but I hope the combination of outside influences and constant modeling will rekindle my kids’ interest in Spanish.
Wish me luck! And as usual, I welcome any ideas and experiences in your own journey to raising bilingual and multicultural children.