One of the original intentions of this blog was to document how I use Spanish at home with my kids. When I resigned my job teaching Spanish in a high school, it seemed natural to take my passion for foreign language and share it with my daughter. Fast forward 2.5 years, another baby, and a part-time job back in the classroom, and it's a bit tougher to prioritize foreign language fun at home.
I still want my kids to be familiar with the Spanish language, though, so I've found a few ways to incorporate it into our everyday life without much effort. Here are my favorite 3:
1. Bedtime Routine in Spanish
Since Pippa was a baby, I have been singing Jesus Loves Me to her en español right before bedtime prayers. She can now sing the first verse and the chorus along with me! I also like to throw in a few other Spanish children's songs and Jesus songs that I picked up on my mission trips to Mexico.
2. A fully stocked Spanish library
Over the past few years I've been slowly but surely adding to our collection of children's books in Spanish. Some have come from Barnes & Noble, some from Amazon, and others from a trip to Mexico to visit family! We make biweekly trips to the public library, too, and ours has a nice little Spanish kid's section.
Reading books in a foreign language is one of the best ways to learn, because kids can hear the rhythm of the language, discover new words in context, and see pictures to help them figure out what's going on.
3. Favorite Spanish Songs for Kids by Jose-Luis Orozco
We can't get enough of this album in the car! With favorites like "La Araña Pequeñita" (Itsy Bitsy Spider) and Las Ruedas del Camión (Wheel on the Bus), there are enough familiar songs to get my toddler's attention. Many of the other songs are simple enough to understand, and teach things like colors, animals, time, and numbers. My personal favorites are "Compadre Compare un Coco" and "El Chocolate." I even hear Pippa get some of these songs stuck in her head and sing them quietly while she's playing!
I may not be perfect at making sure my kids hear anywhere close to an equal amount of Spanish as they do English, but I do want to make sure that Spanish language resources are available to them, and that time spent en español is fun and relaxing so that they have a positive association with language learning.