Hi, I'm Paulina from Chicago, IL Dec 14, 2017 13:37:22 GMT 9
Post by Adam Beck on Dec 14, 2017 13:37:22 GMT 9
I don’t know what to do to encourage her to repeat a word, doesn’t matter in what language as long as she talks to me more. I think it happens to a lot of parents, feeling guilty that we haven’t done a good job with ours kids or we ask many times if we did something wrong. Time flies so fast, it feels like I closed my eyes for a minute and she is two years old now, I can’t believe it.
Pau, welcome! Amy has written a really lovely, really helpful message so just let me tag on to some of her points.
Above all, the most important thing is (playful and patient) perseverance over the whole length of childhood, day after day after day. While I don't know the full details of your situation, it sounds like the odds of success are strongly on your side, since both you and your husband have ability in the minority language and I suspect there are plenty of additional sources of Spanish exposure that you could also access in your area, whether now or in the future. (My hometown is Quincy, Illinois, by the way, a bit downstate from you! )
As you mentioned, it's only natural for parents--and particularly, first-time parents--to feel anxious over a child's early development, but I would encourage you to view your bilingual aim from a much longer perspective. In your case, I would even suggest that, if you and your husband simply put in the daily effort to emphasize your daughter's exposure to Spanish while "de-emphasizing" English input at home--and, at the same time, don't "overthink" all this, which can lead to unnecessary and counterproductive worry--your daughter will make very satisfying progress, in both languages, over the months and years ahead.
Let me stress that your little daughter has not "chosen" English over Spanish. A child's tendency to use one language more than another is simply a reflection of the two "core conditions" of exposure and need. When there is ample exposure in a target language, and some genuine need to use it, there will eventually be active ability in that language. But I think it's true that, if you become "overeager" to have her speak, and thus are willing to set an early precedent of communicating in English, her need to use Spanish with you could be undercut.
Pau, while this aim does require mindful and proactive efforts, day by day, under the "right" circumstances (like yours), the process itself is actually quite straightforward and a successful outcome is practically preordained. But the "danger," in the early years, is that short-term concerns (which, ultimately, are often forgotten footnotes later on) can undermine this organic process and the family's joy in it, and even, in worst-case scenarios, derail the whole dream.
Here's a post at my blog which I hope will speak to you about the importance of patience, and faithful persistence, through the first formative years. (You'll also find a version of this perspective in my book.)
Important Thoughts on Babies and Hammers
Speaking of my book, I really hope you enjoy it and that it can extend these initial thoughts and provide you with further reassurance and help fuel your determination. I look forward to your impressions.
Pau, I send my best bilingual wishes, from Hiroshima to Chicago, to you and your family. Keep going, day by day, with as much playful and patient persistence--and as much mindful joy--as possible. There's always a payoff to perseverance and, indeed, I expect we'll be hearing about some happy progress from you in 2018.