As a parent raising a bilingual child what to do?
Immersion environment at home
I had the wonderful fortune of finding Spanish-speaking friends for my son. Their very first Spanish playdate was a success, and I eventually ended up babysitting two of the girls. Babysitting once a week turned to five days a week. During this time my son was speaking to them only in Spanish. I even had them watching Spanish cartoons, and listening to Spanish songs.
Travel immersion has its full benefits when you actually speak and immerse yourself in the minority language during your travels. This helps develop cross-cultural communication and social interaction skills.
I recall my son’s first “real” immersion trip to Puerto Rico, and how that trip made all the difference in the world. Fast forward to this past Christmas holiday, we spent 16 days in Puerto Rico and my son communicated only in Spanish with all of the familia. Everywhere we went we spoke Spanish.
He spoke it clearly and with no reserves. He didn’t worry if his words were correct or not. For instance, he says hagarlo for hacerlo (his language learning is a continuous work in progress). All he knew was that he was communicating in the language that everyone was communicating in. He felt part of his culture and his language heritage. He was happy!
Language immersion program
|Puzzle image via Commons Wikimedia|