It is certainly advantageous for your kids to be bilingual. Their ability to speak two languages can readily offer them tons of opportunities. In the U.S., it is practical to learn how to speak Spanish aside from English.
Here are some techniques on how you can prepare your kids to learn basic Spanish even at a young age:
- Numbers. Begin the basic Spanish lessons for your kids by teaching them how to count – from 1 to 10. Be very particular with the correct pronunciation. If you are not familiar with them, go to a local bookstore. Ask for a computer program (or a CD) that can guide you about how to say or pronounce numbers in Spanish. You can use it as an aide. Once your kids have mastered counting from 1 to 10, you can lead them to continue learning how to count from 11 to infinity. Again, refer to the computer program (or the CD) whenever necessary.
- Colors. Try to be more interactive here. You can have a set of flash cards. You can either buy or make it. A set of flash cards is effective because it allows you to review your child. A flash card contains not just the color but also it equivalent word in English and in Spanish. You can shuffle the flash cards and instruct your kids to read (or say aloud) the particular color. You can also use the flash cards in running some games.
- Household items. You need another learning tool here. This time, it is beneficial to source a picture dictionary (English-Spanish). The picture is going to let your child remember the word easily (from English to Spanish, or vice-versa). You can make your lessons more exciting by inviting your kids to walk around with you. Once you spot a household item, point to it. Then, ask your kids to name it. Or, you can just opt to open the picture dictionary, point to an entry, and then, require your kids to read the equivalent words in English and in Spanish. After that, you may cover the words and challenge your kids to name the items again. You may also instruct them to spell the words. If that is easy, you can challenge your kids to use the Spanish words in sentences. For example, your kids can say: “Is that el reloj?”
- Phrases and sentences. Common expressions are easier to learn. You can teach your kids how to say greetings like “Hello!” (“Hola!”) or “Goodbye!” (“Adios!”). Or, polite terms like “Thank you!” (“Gracias!”) or “Please!” (“Por Favor!”). Strike a conversation situation with your kids and prompt them to use those expressions.
- Spanish TV shows. There are a number of TV programs that teach kids to speak Spanish. Most of them feature lovable cartoon characters. Let your kids watch them. They are surely going to have fun meeting Handy Manny, Diego, or Dora. While watching the TV programs, tell them to listen well. When they are asked to repeat some words, phrases, or sentences, motivate them to do so.
Enrich your kids’ learning as they grow up. You may consider enrolling
them in a formal Spanish course. Once they have mastered Spanish as a
second language, expect them to be more competitive. Your efforts are
absolutely going to be paid off in the near future.