Raising a bilingual toddler

La Familia

While researching pre-schools for my son near Raleigh, North Carolina I realized that my expectations are very high and thus they should be. I also have to settle with our decision that we bought a home that I absolutely love, but without dual immersion schools. At least I haven’t found any. While Raleigh does boast with options the commute would have been to far for my husband.

We’re in Johnston, County, North Carolina. Let me be clear that I know where we bought our home and I knew at the time that dual language or full immersion schools didn’t exist there. This is not a post to complain about the lack of, but rather how I will fill that gap for our family. Onward and upward is my motto for our new journey.

I did find a school in Raleigh and Cary called Spanish fun and I’m still considering the school for pre-school for the 2010-2011 school year. None the less while researching schools today I came upon a great and resourceful Website for parents who are raising bilingual and bicultural children.

The blog SpanglishBaby, is an on-line community committed  to raising bilingual children. The site provides everything from daily activities, expert forums, daily foods and more. What a joy it was to find the site and to know that two fellow Latina journalists are the brain child behind the wonderful network. Las felicito!

I was pleased to know that I’m not alone in wanting my son and our family to experience the dual language and bicultural life. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in the US. Like many of us who came to the states in the late 70’s and early 80’s, English was the main language spoken in the home. I was one of the lucky ones who got to spend summers in Venezuela with family which I consider the reason why I’m bi-cultural and bilingual.

Here are my top 5 personal suggestions for raising a bilingual and bicultural home:

  1. Habla! Speak in your native language as much as possible.
  2. Buy your favorite children’s books in both languages – they are also wonderful for the parent that doesn’t speak in the native language.
  3. Musica. Make sure you have lots of music native to your country or region around. Kids love music!
  4. Find or organize a dual language play-group. Do this weekly so you kids can see that others are like them.
  5. Cook together using the language. Describe the food, the colors and smell.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ana Lilian Flores
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 00:38:13

    Thanks so much for the SpanglishBaby shout out, Valentina! Means a lot to us that you can find the info useful, but most of all that you find a community of like-minded parents.
    We´d love to connect more with you..loving your blog!


    • Valen's Blog
      Apr 08, 2011 @ 11:40:24

      You’re are very welcome! Finding your site when we first moved to North Carolina was wonderful and really helped me along with my journey to focus on teaching my son Spanish. It’s wonderful to have a support group to go to. I still can’t believe we never met in Denver. 😦


  2. Valen's Blog
    May 25, 2010 @ 09:12:55

    Gracias Sandra! I just went to your blog…you make some adorable clothes for kids.


  3. Joey & Aleethea (Sandra)
    May 24, 2010 @ 15:49:48

    Those are fantastic ideas! #4 is my favorite. 😀 We are also considering SFF in Raleigh for our son Joey – they offer a summer camp too, I believe. Congratulations on your new venture as a SAHM! The transition can be shocking, but the reward is incomparable!


  4. Valen's Blog
    May 23, 2010 @ 19:35:24

    Thank you for your comments! I do want to get started in that direction for sure. I’m new to the area and my son is still in pre-school but I once I’m settled I do plan on plugging away.

    Is this something you have done in your community?


  5. Melanie
    May 23, 2010 @ 19:12:04

    Why don’t you start working with the local school districts now to try to get them to establish a dual immersion program? Parents have a lot of power if they advocate for the programs!!


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