I'm completely bilingual. By that I mean that I literally learned English and Spanish at the same time. I mainly spoke Spanish to my parents and English to my older sisters. I always said I would do the same thing with my own children however it didn't quite work out that way. The main reason is that Rey doesn't really speak Spanish so I'm accustomed to speaking English to him all the time. I thought that if a Spanish speaking sitter took care of them and spoke to them in Spanish I would be fine. I was right to a certain extent.
It soon became apparent that Miranda understood every word that came out of her "Mana's" mouth but she chose to speak to her in English. The baby is only 2 & 4 months so he had barely started talking in the last year but he is English dominant, with a really good Spanish pronunciation. Turns out children relate to the language that the mother speaks. So although they understand Spanish perfectly, they prefer to speak English.
Now that the kids have started school and will be hearing only English I feel the need to speak Spanish to them. I don't want them to lose the base that they already built these years with the sitter. It is a lot harder than I ever imagined.
So I decided to make a game of it. I also took 3.5 years of Italian in college so I'm pretty good at a third language. The kids get a kick when I speak to them in Italian.
I told them that we are going to alternate the days that I speak the three languages. So Monday is English, Tuesday is Spanish, Wednesday is Italian and so on. Miranda loved the idea and Seth will go along with whatever his "sissy" says. In this way they will continue hearing Spanish and hopefully hearing me speak it more they will start to connect to the language. And they will also pick up a new language!
Tomorrow is Spanish again. It was really hard to stick to it this week so far but I figure that if I keep doing it, it will become a habit and the children will eventually become accustomed to the 3 languages too. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
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