I love this topic, it is one that is very confusing for some and sometimes myself in fact. I have inserted a picture of my kids because though deep within I wanted my eldest to be bilingual I wasn’t confident to speak to him in Spanish though myself a non native Spanish speaker and didn’t want to entrust his care to a stranger however much Spanish they spoke at the time!.
Raised by Caribbean and non Spanish speaking South Americans with Spanish music and some culture, I yearned for the language and chose Spanish at school and studied during University opting for a bilingual degree and years living, working and studying in Spain.
My eldest journey:
I was under the illusion that I would move back to Spain shortly after he was born and I introduced him finally to Dora and Diego etc and lunchtime classes at school but it wasn’t till he was about nine that I gave him a dedicated tutor after we immersed ourselves for three weeks straight one summer in Spain he asked for more help in Spanish.
At about age one I switched to speaking Spanish full time and employed a Spanish nanny to look after him while I did my teacher training degree.
Will hear both languages and has done since birth and before as I run Spanish classes for kids she has been to every single class. I will also speak to her fully in Spanish.
My top tips:
I am now reaping some rewards from my various strategies and I realise it is possible with much effort, consistency and input to bilingualise your kids. You could say it is easier for me but I believe it can be done even if parent or carer doesn’t speak another language.
Get a helper or playmate in the chosen language, someone who has native language
Read to your child in the other language or if you aren’t confident find a storytime app in that language or a cd
Try and attend some kind of class where you can pick up some basics and support your child in their learning
Spend some time in the country of choice (three weeks minimum I have heard is needed at a time)
Don’t give up
Be confident in your strategy (this comes from researching the benefits and reasons)
Try and get support from others
Have fun with it (being a teacher, the best learning comes from having fun..) learning can take place anywhere.
Every family is different but you wont regret hearing them speak another language, however bad it is spoken at first. Just correct them and move on but I do believe that having a native speaker (aupair, babysitter, playfriend) in some form will be a great help..in case you don’t know what they said is grammatically incorrect.