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Many parents dream of having a bilingual child. In today’s world, it is almost imperative that your child learns a second language. Being bilingual gives a person the opportunity to communicate with an entire group of people and become a global citizen. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. With that being the case many parents would like their child to learn Spanish. Of course it is much easier if at least one parent speaks Spanish. But what if neither parent speaks Spanish, or has anyone in the family that speaks it?
Luckily with technology there are many ways to begin teaching your child (even at a young age) how to speak Spanish. Who knows, you might pick some up yourself!
Native speakers of a language acquire the language naturally, they learn only one way to say a word, which is loosely the immersion method. Since you may be unable to immerse your child in the language here are some tips that you can use to help your child speak Spanish even if you don’t speak it.
This post is long, but resourceful! If you don’t have time to read it all, pin it for later.
Here are my must-haves for our Spanish Library Collection
100 Picture Words Dictionary- this is so necessary! My children and I love the photographs of these common items we see every day.
* Workbooks- Great practice for your children. this workbook is great for ages 6+. It has many examples, colorful, and easy to use. I bought two so each of my older girls can have their own. Before buying I would make sure your child has some previous exposure to the Spanish language.
Other workbooks available:
* Picture books- I like to check out books from the local public library before committing to buy. Once my children really enjoy certain books, then we will make space in our library (every time I buy one, we give away two...trying to be more minimalist) to have it for them to read at home as well.
Here are some cute bilingual books for your children:
We limit screen time at my home, but Spanish language DVDs are a great way to maximize the minimal screen time my children do get. There are many titles to choose from and the most popular are Little Pim, Rock and Learn, and Whistlefritz. We have watched all of them and Little Pim seems to be the easiest for young children. The panda (Little Pim) says words in Spanish, the word is written on the screen, and the words are repeated often. The Little Pim series also offers other languages if you are interested as well.
Whistlefritz has an actual person with animated characters speaking Spanish. There are more daily scenarios in Whistlefritz that makes it more natural. However, since there are words they don’t know yet I think Whistlefritz is better to watch after some exposure to Spanish.
Rock and Learn has catchy songs in Spanish. These are great review songs to watch as well as to play while your children are completing other activities.
Don’t forget about the public library! I like to try before I buy, so check to see if they have the DVD in the library before purchasing!
* Amazon Prime
I LOVE Amazon Prime! Not only for my two day shipping (of course), but also because of Amazon Prime Video. There are many videos to watch for free and you can have your child watch them in Spanish! Sesame Street (in Spanish), Dora the Explore, Diego, and more of kids favorite characters can be watched in Spanish.
Personally I will watch the videos with my children so that way I can discuss them after. I might say what is a hat? For example, you want to make sure you start incorporating the vocabulary so your child doesn’t lose it.
You can create a playlist for your children on Youtube with Spanish songs and videos. Then when you do allow screen time they can also watch these specific videos. The only thing I do not like about Youtube is the ads, but now they Youtube kids so that should hopefully help. Youtube kids is only available on mobile devices though.
Rockalingua is a subscription based site to help your child learn Spanish. They have videos, games, songs, and worksheets. They also let you preview the activities before you decide to subscribe. This would be a great supplemental resource once your child is more capable in Spanish.
Duolingo is a free website that offers quizzes and games to help your child learn Spanish. You don’t have to create an account, but you do if you would like to track their progress.
* Computer programs
* Spanish Music cds are fun to play in the house for your child to practice basic words, and listen to proper accents.
Here are some fun games for children of all ages:
Flashcards are a great way for you to practice with your child as well. We like these picture cards and make a game out of them.
* Local Library (Bilingual Storytime)
Many local public libraries (and sometimes even Barnes and Noble) has bilingual storytime sessions. This a great time to expose your child to the language. You may also end up meeting another mom who speaks Spanish, or is teaching her children Spanish to connect with.
* Spanish Classes
Many local recreation centers offer Spanish classes for children at very reasonable prices. I personally like to support my local rec centers because they offer such a great value to the community and are very affordable. If there is one in your area, you may also consider signing your children up to get extra practice. If your child attends public or private school, they may also have Spanish classes or clubs there.
* Hire a Tutor
If your child is homeschooled, you may also consider hiring a tutor. Think outside the box when hiring a Spanish tutor. Spanish tutors do not have to be very expensive. It might be a neighbor, colleague, or family friend that is your child’s tutor. Use the tutor to have someone speak in Spanish only with your child. Soon your child will be able to respond to them and converse naturally with them.
They say, if you don’t use it, you lose it! So give your child plenty of time to use their new language skills. Ask questions, have them read aloud to you, and find friends and neighbors that speak Spanish they can talk to. Even when meeting or speaking with other parents, if I know or find out they speak Spanish, I will have my children greet them in Spanish. If nothing else they will be able to greet others in Spanish.