Looking for a blueprint to begin the bilingual learning process? BookLingual is here to provide you with 10 ways to teach your toddler Spanish. Whether you are looking to begin the process, or are looking for ways to improve your action plan, this article is for you.
1. By learning it yourself
If you are in the process of learning the Spanish language, there will be so many natural opportunities for teaching your child. If you are studying “kitchen” vocabulary that day, then pass along this knowledge to your toddler. This is #1 on the list for a reason. If you are learning Spanish, all other ideas will be so much more effective. It will allow you the ability to back up the methods with your understanding.
Check Out: SpanishDict.Com for a completely free learning curriculum! Rosetta Stone is a popular Spanish program for learning some basic Spanish. “Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish” by Joseph Keenan is an outstanding resource for beginners. A local tutor is also a good idea to practice actual conversations.
2. Take them to a children’s Language Class
There may be a children’s language class in your area. These “Spanish classes” are often taught at a language learning center, a pre-school, or a local religious organization. These classes are very beneficial, as they allow children to learn with other children, in a fun setting.
Check Out: Lango – offering foreign language classes for kids in over 70 communities. Spanish Blackbelt – has Spanish classes from toddlers to adults in several states.
3. Have them Watch Spanish Language Television and Movies
Watching different language programs has never been easier. Your child can watch the same content they normally watch but in a different language. This helps your child pick up on certain new words and phrases in a rapid manner. Try choosing SAP if the television program allows it, select the Spanish audio track while streaming movies or on your children’s DVDs.
Check Out: Hulu Plus – they currently offer several children’s cartoons in the Spanish language. Netflix – they are adding more and more Spanish language children’s content regularly.
4. Read Bilingual Books with Them
Reading books is the most powerful way to gain new vocabulary and language understanding. Your child will focus on a few things: the pictures, your voice, your emotion, and the words they see on the page. This creates an ideal situation for acquiring new vocabulary and connecting new words to images and emotions.
Check Out: BookLingual – specially designed bilingual eBooks with talking audio included for pronunciation help. Language Lizard – offering a large selection of bilingual books for purchase. Amazon – offering a ton of children’s Spanish and bilingual books.
5. Listening to Music and Singing Along
Can you remember any songs from your childhood? Chances are, you can. Listening to rhythmic songs with lyrics composed for easy learning helps to gain new words. Your child will be singing away after hearing these songs a few times, and you will be happy the words are “sticking.”
Check Out: Sing with Señor – offering an album of infectious songs filled with basic Spanish words. SpanishMama – offers some great music CD’s. Habla Blah Blah – fun and free Spanish music videos for kids.
6. Visiting a Spanish Speaking Country
This will be a fun vacation, and an opportunity for your child to be exposed to the Spanish language. Even at a young age, your child will feel that their Spanish learning will have more of a purpose, as you can refer back to your child’s memory of this trip.
Check Out: Riviera Maya, Mexico – the Yucatan peninsula is quite a splendid place to visit: if you are into the extreme or just want to lie on the beach. San Juan, Puerto Rico – not far from the US mainland, filled with historic mystery. Barcelona, Spain – a Spanish city which includes much more than grand cathedrals and Spanish.
7. Use some Language Learning DVDs or Stream Spanish Learning Material
There is a wide array of language learning DVDs and Spanish content that can be streamed designed for toddlers. These can help build a basic foundation of vocabulary in Spanish.
Check Out: Little Pim has a great set of DVDs that teach children basic Spanish words. Dino Lingo also offers DVDs and streaming content for kids, with animations of dinosaurs as the main characters.
8. By Celebrating a Tradition Native to a Spanish Speaking Country
Why not celebrate a tradition from Mexico – such as Día de Los Muertos. Or, make some tamales together.
Check Out: SpanglishBaby is a blog dedicated to giving you ideas and inspiration for celebrating both cultures.
9. Learning More about How to Raise a Fully Bilingual Child
By beginning to teach your toddler Spanish at a young age, you are setting them up for great success! Not only should you consider learning Spanish yourself, but you need to take time out to understand how and why children become fully bilingual. A few good reads will do the trick.
10. Planning for Kindergarten at a Dual Language Immersion School
Is there a dual language immersion school in your area? If so, this would be an incredible opportunity for your child. Dual Language schools teach about half of the time in English and half of the time in Spanish. This method of teaching is highly beneficial, as your child will not only learn how to speak Spanish but read and write in the language, as well.
Check Out: Google “dual language immersion school (your city)” – and research what is available near you. If a program is not yet available, don’t fret. Make your bilingual action plan, do the “ideas” listed in this article, and your child can become fully fluent.
So there you have it, 10 ways to teach your toddler Spanish. There is no better time to get started with the resources provided. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit booklingual.com for additional resources and dual-language books to add to your bilingual journey.