Raising bilingual kids? Meet Mama Llama Linguist

Hola y’all! I’m Corrie, founder of Mama Llama Linguist: a website about teaching Spanish en casa and raising bilingual children.

I’m a Brit, but I moved to the States in 2015 and now live in South Carolina (hence the y’all) with my two littles. I left the classroom shortly after my son was born and started a blog. Little did I know at the time that said hobby blog would turn into a life changing decision and I wouldn’t be returning to the ‘traditional’ Spanish classroom as expected.

Raising bilingual children is my big picture goal. I get so giddy thinking about them being able to converse with our latinx friends in Spanish, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and language acquisition is certainly not gained overnight- wouldn’t that be nice?

Do you identify with the tortoise or the hare? I have to admit I favor the hare. I’m definitely a productivity junkie. I’m a type 2 (helper) with a strong 3 (achiever) wing on the Ennegram. So I struggle to set healthy boundaries for self-care like rest. But one thing I’ve learnt over the past few years raising bilingual kids is this: slow and steady wins the race. We’ve got to identify with the tortoise.

I realized early on that my children would only ever be passive bilinguals (understanding Spanish but responding in English) unless I ‘upped my game’ and found ways to immerse them daily in the target language.

You see, English will always be the default in our home. I totally envy those families who are able to do OPOL/MLH (One Parent One Language/Minority Language at Home). My husband and I both have English as our native tongue so it definitely takes a lot of effort for us.

Here’s the secret sauce: You ready? It’s all about their routines! Our tiny tots are creatures of habit and they thrive on structure.

So without further ado, here are 5 baby steps you can take daily, so that poco a poco you can reach that big picture goal of raising bilingual kids with me:

  1. Read Aloud

Leer es crecer. Creating a print-rich environment matters! We have grown our bilingual home library steadily and I love the bonding reading encourages: from the physical act of snuggling up to the treasured stories that become part of our sweet childhood memories.

  1. Sing Along

Music is sticky and perhaps the most effective method with vocabulary memorization. My popular Spotify playlist: Best Spanish Songs for Kids is a great starting point.

  1. Spanish Apps

My kids think it’s a treat to play Spanish on the iPads- HA! Got them. Our favorites include Gus on the Go and Spanish Schoolbus.

  1. Real-Life Context

Providing connections and exposure in the target language is so powerful. My son thrives on these immersive experiences. Search for bilingual story times at your library or virtual Spanish classes.

  1. Podcasts

Podcasts allow you to hitch personal development/ entertainment with mundane tasks like folding the laundry, carpool line etc. My favorites include Entre Dos Podcast and Mamas 411 Podcast.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark! You can do it mama!

 

You can download my FREE GUIDE for even more tips and resources for learning Spanish at home.

 

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