Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Bilingual Child's Secret Language: Spanish

Never in my wildest dreams I could imagine writing about my son's "secret" language: Spanish!  When we started our bilingual journey I had my heart and soul in providing for him a Spanish immersion experience.  It was an unfathomable feat considering we were living in an exclusive monolingual environment where opportunities to nurture a bilingual child were literally impossible.

Nevertheless, my mama heart was set on making our child bilingual against all odds...
Picture on left my 7 yr. old. Picture on right when he was 4 yrs. old and we started our bilingual journey.



...and guess what?  It happened! It truly happened! 

I have a bilingual and biliterate child who communicates with me in Spanish, who sleeps talk in Spanish, and who whispers in my ear in Spanish that he'd like an extra piece of candy so that if his Daddy overhears him he won't know what he's saying. Ha!  It tickles me when he approaches me in Spanish as if this were our secret language.  Though I have a feeling that Daddy has picked up on some Spanish since Spanish is grilled 24/7 in our home.

My child has been using Spanish as a secret language when it suits him. As you can read from Rita's Multilingual Parenting post on 7 ways to motivate your child to speak the minority language he has created a need to communicate in Spanish.  This is his motivator.

Now on the flip side when your child is not motivated to speak the minority language follow The Piri-Piri Lexicon's awesome tip talk, talk, talk because it works!  Ute from Expat Since Birth shares tips for expats about how to encourage your child to learn the local language, and stresses on the importance of reading for multilingual children.   Last but not least, Rita advises not to get discouraged, and take a deep breath when your child refuses to talk you in the minority language.

Reflecting on our journey, I look at my 7 yr. old and remember when he was a preschooler who barely turned 4 yrs. old claiming he knew Spanish.  Seriously, singing Dora's song of the numbers does not constitute to being bilingual. Ha!   At the time that was so far from the truth! Now, I know without any doubt or hesitation when he says, "Mommy, I know Spanish!" He really does. Especially since it's also his secret language.

Does your child have a secret language? What is your child's motivator?  As a parent what's your motivator?


Read more our bilingual journey with Spanish activities here, and follow my Pinterest Board: 

Follow Frances @ DTWTMSE's board Bilingual Education & Resources for Teaching Kids Spanish on Pinterest.

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