Raising Bilingual Kids: 5 Resolutions for a Great Year
I absolutely love the holiday season! For me, it all starts in October. The temperatures start to cool down (so it’s slightly less hot here in North Florida!) and the fall fun begins! It’s all fall festivals and corn mazes until Thanksgiving. Then, Christmas officially begins in my household! We start pulling out the decorations, decorate the trees, and begin planning the festivities with our friends and family. Life is just one big celebration until January 1st. Then, January 2nd hits and I find myself feeling a little bit empty! What do we have to look forward to next?
I think this is where New Year’s Resolutions come in! The New Year gives us a sense of a new start, a fresh clean slate, if you will. It’s a way to get back on track and focus on the business of real life, which can be just as exciting! So, this year, I have decided to give our language learning journey a fresh new start! Most of my resolutions have to do with taking our bilingual journey to the next level and below are 5 resolutions I came up with to help me do exactly that:
Read more (in Spanish)
Reading is crucial for a child’s development. I have said it before, and I think it often needs to be emphasized. Because it definitely is easier said than done! With our busy lives, I have to admit that some days I fail to read to the kids. This was especially true during the holidays. And when read, it’s more often than not in English. So, I want to recommit to reading in Spanish every day, which may mean reading more than one book. I have to set aside the time and energy every evening for that! (That’s gotta mean less cooking or cleaning, right?)
Play more (in Spanish)
The business of children is to play! It’s how they learn and it’s crucial for their development. I give my children (and students) a lot of time for free-play. I love that they can spend hours playing indoors or out, using a few toys and a lot of imagination. However, I don’t often take the time to play with them! I want to take the time to play with them for at least 20 minutes every day where I can talk to them in Spanish and encourage them to carry out their play time conversations in Spanish as well.
Dance more (in Spanish)
We love music in this house. We like to cook, clean and do our chores while listening to music. More often than not, the music is in Spanish. I think this is a great way for children to absorb not only language, but culture. I want to make sure that we continue to spend time doing this as a family and take more time to simply hang out and dance when we have music on!
Study more (in Spanish)
All though the kids need to play a lot, they also need to study a little! The big girls are learning to read and they are also learning math. While I don’t give my students homework (Kindergarten is way too young for homework in my opinion) I do like to work at home with my kids! I think every parent should. That might mean reading a book, going to a museum and then drawing about what they saw, practicing their letters and numbers, etc. This year, I am going to use a popular reading tool to teach the girls how to read in Spanish and I am going to encourage more discussion of events and outings in Spanish.
Use media more effectively (in Spanish)
I think that videos, games and apps are great tools for our children when used purposefully. My resolution, however, is to be more consistent about using them effectively. Spanish Safari was created with this purpose in mind and if I schedule it in for about 15 to 20 minutes every day, it will help the girls practice Spanish in a fun way. I can alternate this with a math program in Spanish (freckle - No affiliation, I just really like this program!) that I like to use with them once or twice a week.
New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for being difficult to stick to! And I think that these are crucial for the continued language development of my family. Which got me thinking about the things I needed to do less of! After all, all this more will require time and energy. That means I will to let go of this cycle of busyness that so many of us have been living in. What does that list look like?
Less scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and Instagram
Less time spent texting on my phone
Less social commitments (it really is OK to say no sometimes!)
Less staying up late (enough sleep is crucial in order to accomplish much)
And my favorite…less chores (which means that my girls will have to help out more around the house right?)
What do your New Year’s Resolutions look like? Share yours with us in the comments!
About the Author
Keli Garcia Allen is a certified Spanish teacher and currently works as a Preschool teacher in a bilingual classroom. She is the Head of Content for Learn Safari and is currently working on Spanish Safari, a Spanish Learning game for children 4-10 years old. You can follow her and the rest of the team on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.