You don’t need to be a native speaker to bring up bilingual children.

I’m not a native speaker, but van my children be bilingual?

In all my years teaching Spanish to young children, I have met many parents that want their children to grow up bilingual or at least aim for them to, at some point, have a good command of an additional language.

Bringing up your children to be bilingual, even when you are not a native speaker, is possible, it requires consistency, good resources and a lot of patience but the results are extremely satisfying.

As parents we strive to give our children the best, to educate them for the future, to give them the broadest tools to have access to may opportunities, learning languages is one of the best things we can help our children to do.

Here are some tips that a mum attending my classes with her 3 year old son can share on her journey helping him to learn Spanish.

When and why did you decide that you wanted Theo to be bilingual or familiar with an additional language?

I knew I wanted Theo to learn another language from when I was pregnant really. I love languages. I am always in awe of anyone who is bilingual and I really think it provides fantastic opportunities.

When did you get started?

Got started from about 6 months old when he could sit and look at the TV or iPad. I put anything he liked to watch in Spanish – it was the children’s TV programme ’Bing’ at first and now I just put on YouTube kids anything he likes but it’s all in Spanish.

What are the main things you do to keep Theo exposed to Spanish?

The other main thing now is attending Nano’s Spanish which Theo loves attending. He loves to sing and dance so it’s perfect for him. He loves the toys in the bag and Josefina is amazing at keeping the children’s attention.  I try to use basic Spanish at home for foods, numbers, colours, please and thank you etc. Theo is 3 now and instead of him saying 1,2,3 blast off he says it in Spanish! It’s amazing what he has picked up. I know he understands as the other day he was laughing at a programme and I asked him what he was laughing about and he was able to tell me in English! It’s true what they say it really is the best thing to start them young.

What would your best tips be for other parents that want to add another language at home?

I think best tips would be to find a local class to attend which is fun and interactive and to start them as young as possible. I am pleased I started when Theo was a baby as he will happily watch any program in Spanish. He is aware it’s not English but he’s enjoying it and it’s lovely to see.

Sarah has touched in several very important points to succeed in helping your children learn languages, consistency, doing fun activities together involving languages and make the most of all the resources available to you.

Starting children early watching children’s programs in an other language is a great idea, I can also suggest songs and audio books and bilingual books you can read together. Everything is new for them and their brains are working hard to make sense of it all and that’s how they learn languages, all languages, your native language and additional ones.

If you want your children to learn Spanish, I can help with our home learning program, perfect to start introducing Spanish at home.

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Why not give it a go?

For any doubts or help needing getting started, get back to me, I will love to help.

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