I am always looking for support in raising Becca to read/write/speak in Spanish and English and The Multilingual Children’s Association site provides all sorts of support to me. I find that it offers a lot of simple and practical suggestions on how to raise a multilingual child as well as providing opportunities to connect with other multilingual families.
I found their recent article, Raising Your Child in a Language Not Your Own?, answered a lot of the concerns I have about speaking to Becca in Spanish. Although I am now capable of communicating in Spanish (How did Becca sleep? What did she eat?), I know that I am often mixing up the syntax, messing up the pronunciation and butchering the verb conjugation. I also have an extremely limited ability to communicate the concept of past or future when I speak (which can be extremely frustrating). I was finding myself limiting how much I spoke to Becca in Spanish because I was afraid of confusing her and I also wanted to stick with the one parent/one language concept (I speak to her in English and Omar speaks to her in Spanish).
The problem with the one parent/one language approach is that Omar’s mom (Becca’s caregiver) only speaks Spanish which means I need to communicate to her in my broken Spanish. This also means that Becca is observing our Spanish/Spanglish/Pantomine exchange and is possibly thinking this is the correct way to speak (or maybe she’s just wildly entertained?).
Despite all of my language limitations, the Multilingual Children’s Association recommends that I speak to Becca in Spanish as well as English. Their thought process is that if I speak and practice the language, my grasp of it will improve (so I will begin to make less mistakes) and more importantly, Becca will have exposure to Spanish from other sources besides just me (Thank God!). I particularly liked this quote:
“So be brave, and don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism.”
That is definitely a sentiment that can be applied to so many aspects of parenting!
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