My name is Olivia and I live in the United States. I don't actually have any children yet, but when I do, I want them to be able to speak, read, and write fluently in Spanish. Spanish is not my mother tongue, and my husband doesn't speak it at all. I speak it, but not as well as I wish I did. I also read and write it, and I am trying to build up a large library of Spanish books for my home.
I came across the Bilingual Zoo when I was searching online to see if it was feasible to raise a bilingual child in my non-native language. It looks like there are ways to do it, but I will have to enlist many helpers. I will probably implement the "time and place" method and hire a nanny or babysitter who speaks Spanish. I will start looking for bilingual school options. The local library has a Spanish storytime a couple of days each week, so that is one resource I will definitely plan on using. I also attend a local church in Spanish.
I have enjoyed following different threads and posts as a guest, and I look forward to being an "official zookeeper."
Welcome, Olivia!! You remind me of myself when I was looking for information on how to do all this 'raising-a-bilingual-child thing'. Good for you, being prepared for it before it all begins. If there's any way I can help with anything Spanish, let me know. Looking forward to hearing from you around the forum.
Country (residing now): US Country (originally from): Spain Children, Ages: Girl, 18 months old Majority Language: English Minority Language(s): Spanish, German, and hopefully French some day!
Hi Olivia! I think it's great idea to consider raising your future kids bilingual (that's my goal with my little one!). Having someone who spends time with the kids and talks to them in Spanish seems like a very good starting point to me. When they grow older, you could also try online chatting with other 'friends from the zoo,' or anyone you know that have kids the same age as yours (in case you don't know many Spanish-speaking people in your area), so it'd be like a 'play date' but in cyberspace. You might want to wait until they're a little bit older (I can't make my own daughter stay in front of the screen to speak to her cousins, aunt, uncles, and grandparents for more that 5 seconds, ha, ha; they all live in Spain), but I'm confident this will change in the future, and she'll be able to talk to them regularly.
My own crazy goal is to raise my 16-month-old daughter trilingual (English -we live in the US-, Spanish, and German), so I managed to find someone who is a native speaker of German and who volunteered to spend time with her, several times a week, and read her books, (try to teach) her some words, etc. I'm sure it won't hurt! Therefore, I share your concerns about trying to raise a kid fluent in a language that isn't spoken at home. Not sure how it's going to turn out, but I'm determined to try.
Wish you the best in your future bilingual efforts!
Olivia, welcome! I applaud the fact that you're thinking ahead and considering effective ways to achieve your bilingual aim. Careful forethought is a significant part of success so, even before you have your first child, you're already making good progress!
I hope this forum, as well as my blog and my book, can be a helpful part of your planning. As a non-native speaker wishing to strengthen your language ability, you may also be interested in these two books...
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
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Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Many thanks, Marisa! In my humble opinion, more bilingual kids = more empathy in the world = a more peaceful planet.
Oct 18, 2017 7:33:04 GMT 9