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How can I Teach my Child Spanish?

By K T Solis
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Even if a parent is not fluent in Spanish, she can still teach her child Spanish. Children absorb language easily and can seamlessly learn two languages simultaneously. There are several reasons why a parent should consider teaching a child Spanish.

For example, Spanish speakers are needed in the U.S. workplace because of the large influx of Spanish-speaking people entering the country. A bilingual person can earn more money in the workplace and may get the job over a person who only speaks English. Learning another language allows children to speak with people from different cultures and gain a deeper appreciation for people who come from a variety of backgrounds.

Parents should start teaching a child Spanish at an early age, preferably when the child is a baby. This can be done through the use of DVDs, music, books, and games. The goal is to make language learning a natural part of the day. Language learning for kids should never be drudgery. Strive to make the process fun so that kids will enjoy it.

If a person's significant other speaks Spanish fluently, ask him to speak only Spanish to the child. At the same time, the other parent should speak only English. This will enable the child to gain experience speaking both languages on a daily basis.

Purchase children's books in the target language. Some bookstores may sell children's books in Spanish. If the stores do not carry Spanish children's books, a parent can buy them from an online bookstore. Of course, a parent can also choose to borrow books in Spanish from the local public library. Reading to children from books written in Spanish will expose them to the language through colorful books. This is an effective way to teach a child Spanish.

Using audio Spanish programs designed for kids is another way for children to learn the language. Music is a powerful teaching tool with children. Since they love to memorize songs and rhymes, an audio program utilizing music is a good way to teach children Spanish as well.

Parents can also locate DVDs that teach Spanish to children. These programs teach children colors, numbers, and basic vocabulary. Such DVDs often feature animation, catchy tunes, and whimsical characters so that the child doesn't even realize she is learning another language.

Computer software that teaches Spanish for kids is another option when seeking to teach a child Spanish. Spanish learning software offers the same features that other programs provide, but computer software is more interactive. Children can practice their language skills in a virtual world and have fun at the same time.

Enroll a child in a Spanish class for kids. Many cities offer Spanish classes geared toward various age levels. Classes are designed to provide children with a firm foundation on which to build more advanced Spanish language skills. Private and small group classes are usually offered, according to each family's needs.

Learning a second language takes practice, so it's crucial to provide a child with ample opportunities to use Spanish. Of course, a child will not learn to speak Spanish overnight; it's a gradual process. By speaking Spanish in the home, using a variety of language learning programs, and beginning the instruction at an early age, children can successfully learn to speak a second language that will provide them with endless opportunities as they grow into adults.

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Discussion Comments

By highlighter — On Aug 09, 2010

I find that it is easiest to teach your child a foreign language when they are eating, during story time, and during the child's bath time. I find my daughter is more focused during these moments.

I speak French and English; my wife speaks English and knows beginners Spanish. We use these family moments to teach each other the languages we do not know. I would like to learn basic Spanish, my wife would like to learn French, and we want our daughter to learn both languages. It is working, but consistency and repetition is key.

By Glasshouse — On Aug 09, 2010

Immersion is the easiest way to teach your child Spanish. We are not Hispanic, but we live in the Southwestern United States. We feel that it is important to know other languages besides English. We use some of the techniques discussed in this article, but we also use things like television shows and sing-a-long songs.

As corny as it sounds, shows like Dora the Explorer and Ni-Hao Kai-Lan teach many of the basics of foreign languages in a fun way. The important thing is we learn with her, and practice what we learn after the show is over. My daughter is almost two, and she knows about half as many words in Spanish as she does in English. She also prefers some words in Spanish because they are easier for her to enunciate (i.e. mono instead of monkey). Make learning fun, and practice with your child.

By starrwd — On Mar 22, 2009

I think that many parents are intimidated by the idea of teaching a foreign language that they do not speak themselves, but it need not be that way. This article contains great ideas for exposing children to Spanish. I wrote a book full of activities that parents can do with their children to help them learn Spanish (Teach Your Child Spanish Through Play, A Guide and Resource for Parents). It is key to find as many ways to expose your child to the language as possible.

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