There are many benefits to teaching children more than one language. Some of the benfits are: language coactivation (when you hear a word you don’t recognize, your brain automatically idenitfies it in both languages), the executive function is activated differently (different parts of the brain are activated in comparison to monolingual children and it transefers that information differently), it benefits the child’s self-esteem, and they have a deeper cognitive development. That being said, I’ve spoken to our son in Spanish since he was in the womb. I make it a point to only speak to him in Spanish and my husband speaks to him in English.
My son completed his first year of Pre-K Dual Language. We are really happy with all the work his teacher did with him. He can speak and listen without support. He knows his letters, numbers, colors, days of the week, and months in Spanish. He loves to sing and dance. He is not only proud to speak the language, but also proud of his culture. Now that summer is upon us, he only has me to speak Spanish with him.
It’s been a while since I’ve taught children Spanish, so I had to do some research on how to start Spanish literacy with him. I found some great resources online. I am focusing on the vowels first and then starting him on learning open syllables (for example, he is learning ma, me, mi, mo, mu this week). Here are some activities he is completing. We do about 20-30 minutes of structured literacy activities per day. The rest of the time is conversational and games. The key is to make it fun!
Tips for kids 0-5– read a lot in Spanish, name everything around you in Spanish, sing songs, read poems, and play games. If one parent is choosing to speak Spanish (or any other language besides English) to the child, do not switch to English. Your child has to know you only respond and they get what they in need in Spanish. Check out your local libraries for read alouds and sing alongs. It’s great modeling for your child.
Disclaimer- I do not expect my son to read this young. He’s very curious about reading, but I know he has more than 2 years to master it. It’s important for my husband and I to nurture his home language. So he will learn to read in Spanish first.
Summer is here! The sunsets at 8:30 pm- 9:00 pm and why have an early bedtime, right? It is definitely hard to get our little one to settle down and get ready for bed. What I’ve learned is that routine is important and makes everyone’s life easier. During the summer sticking to that schedule can make it even more challenging. A lot kids are at camp or with grandparents, so schedules are non-existant for some. I am fortunate enough to stay home with my son all summer. He has a mix of fun mom and dad time, along with camps, and spending time with family. He just completed his first year or pre-k, so I know he is used to a schedule. I’ve given him some time to hang out and not really be on a schedule. He goes to bed late 1-2 nights a week and the rest of the time he sticks to a schedule.
I decided to create a schedule like he has at school. I don’t write the times, I just number each activity. It’s all written in Spanish and my husband drew a small picture next to it. He seems to like it so far. He knows exactly what is going on and he doesn’t ask me, “que hacemos ahora momma?” Here is an example of a schedule. It doesn’t have to be fancy. This family posted it on the fridge which is a great idea. Schedules provide predicablity, stability, sense of routine, a sense of secutiry and I promise you! Minimal meltdowns.!!
Summer in the city is yes! very hot, but it’s also a great playground for children. There are countless places to take them. I like to combine my son’s summer with a scheduled camps with a bit of fun. Here are some fun places I like to take my son in the summer:
Central Park– choose a playground to go to, they are all great, then take your child over to Alice’s Teacup. They will have a blast.
Union Square Playground– It has a very modern layout and it’s gated, so the layout is very convenient.
Museum of Natural History– You can spend the entire day there. Take your own lunch or go to Shake Shack across the street.
Brooklyn Bridge Park– They have a playground, a pool, and a picnic area, not to mention the best ice cream shop and pizza! Check out Lombardi’s and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens- They are free every Tuesday
Brooklyn Children’s Museum– It’s a wonderful space and they layout is very easy to watch the kids while they play and discover.
Prospect Park– Zucker Natural Exploration Area- This is a hidden gem in the park. Children climb through hollow trees and pump water.
I try to do a few activities with my son during the week. They are usually arts and crafts and cooking related. One week we made blueberry bars. It’s the easiest recipe ever. The hard part is making the bar look like the one in the recipe picture. I’m not the best baker, but I try. I learned about this recipe in Against All Grains book. It’s a simple recipe and in the process I learned how to make blueberry jam. It’s easy and I can’t believe I didn’t learn this sooner. My son enjoyed spreading the jam on the almond flour dough. I did a lot of the heavy work, but the point is we do the activity together. He learns about measurement, how to read a recipe, and the importance of portions in Spanish. It’s a fun way to learn new words such as “una cucharra” or “una taza.” He feels very proud of himself for knowing Spanish. Here is the picture of the blueberry bars. I don’t want to show my horrible baking. This is better.