I recently attended a conference on Bilingualism in London about the facts that even bilingual parents sometimes do not manage to raise bilingual children themselves. I was kind of quaking at the thought given that I was raised monolingual and thought yikes ‘what hope have I?’ but thankfully the expert gave us strategies and tips. One of the tips that stuck with me was the length of our holidays to the country of origin or in my case the country that I am raising my children to be bilingual, which in our case is Spain. She stated that a holiday for language benefits should be a minimum of three to four weeks in length to gain the full benefits of language learning, practice and acquisition in that time period. My situation with my eldest means that I can never have him for longer than three weeks over the summer holiday as half of his time must be spent with his monolingual father. However I decided there no then at that conference that we would start spending three weeks each summer in a Spanish speaking country, starting with this summer even though my husband won’be able to come and I will be about five months pregnant. Part of our time will be spent with my child-minder’s family and then the other part will be free to explore.
I am ramping up my efforts to insure that the younger children are bilingual from birth, we employ home help/ Spanish nanny and I am looking for Spanish activity teachers i.e. to teach them skills in Spanish in addition to all the Spanish I speak to them at home however I don’t play piano. Once we come back from our summer holidays I will update you with how the trip went linguistically. Fingers crossed!
I have these aims:
1. The youngest uses fuller phrases, his comprehension is excellent but production is slower
2. The oldest learns basic conversational Spanish
3. They both grow in confidence
4. They have opportunities to practice in shops and restaurants
5. They can make themselves understood to find their way around their hotel or accommodation
I teach Spanish to preschoolers, it’s been my aim to become fluent since university in Madrid and raise my children bilingual since I was unable to return. http://www.bilinguebabies.com