Milestones and Regrets On Teaching My Son a Second Language

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Milestones
At 4 yrs. old my son has reached numerous milestones in learning to be bilingual. He’s constantly asking how do you say this or that in Spanish, he’s conjugating sentences, he asks to watch his favorite cartoons in Spanish, he sings songs in Spanish, he has also asked for me to translate into Spanish his favorite bedtime stories that are in English, and he can pick up on the language when he hears it in places other than home. Way before these milestones, he had professed that he knew Spanish! Ah, but in my hearts of hearts, I knew we had a long way to go! 
Although, there is still more work to be done on making him completely bilingual I am truly happy and proud of his accomplishments to this date. Especially when he’s so receptive to learning Spanish. I see his interest, and desire to learn! 
Regrets 
However, not everything has been “peaches and creme”; and I’ve faced many challenges. Reminiscing on my pregnancy…on my hopes, wishes, desires, plans and dreams for our unborn child,  was one deeply rooted in my heart, but I failed to put into action early on. My one regret, not talking to my child only, and exclusively in Spanish since the day he was born.  
Living away from my homeland Puerto Rico, away from family and away from anyone who spoke Spanish has been no easy feat! My husband, and in-laws only speak English, my child’s daycare providers only speak English, and here I was talking to our child only in English! There were times that I would say a word or two in Spanish, and quickly found myself talking to him in English once again. 
How dare I not talk to my son in Spanish?!  I heard those words from my side of the family many times! I felt ashamed, defeated and a total failure. I read articles on how the “time frame for children to learn a second language was from birth to 5 yrs. old.”   I felt time was slipping through my fingers, and my child was not learning a second language. I went into panic mode, and came up with an action plan!  
Teaching Him A Second Language
I went full force into making sure my son would start learning Spanish, and it all started with our journey into a Spanish immersion language class. This has made all of the difference in the world because my child is learning another language with children his same age. He proudly boasts to his friends, “I’m in a Spanish immersion class, and I know Spanish!”   I have reinforced his Spanish immersion classes with Spanish home lessons, using books, crafts, and videos. To make it even more fun I had a bilingual playdate for him and his friends. The best part of it all, is that I myself am speaking to him more, and more in Spanish! 
He is on way to becoming bilingual, slowly but surely I am confidant he will get there. I will definitely enjoy, savor and take in every single word in Spanish that comes out of his little mouth! 
My favorite ones thus far, and they are music to my ears: 
“Mommy, I love you with all my heart!” and “Mommy, give me a big hug!”
My advice to parents who are struggling to teach your children a second or even a third language, don’t give up! You’re the only one that can help your child be bilingual or multilingual.  Having the ability to speak more than one language is in itself a huge blessing!

¡Hasta la próxima!

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12 Responses to “Milestones and Regrets On Teaching My Son a Second Language”

  1. What a journey! I really enjoyed it. I did an experiment with my son when he was born. I learned a lot from it. I spoke both English and Mandarin Chinese with him. When my daughter was born I only spoke Chinese with her. It made a big difference. I love how you give your little one such a wonderful and fun exposure to Spanish and he is motivated to learn more. Great job!

  2. I've really enjoyed following along with you here and I'm so thrilled that the Spanish immersion class and your hard work are paying off. We definitely need to do more here!

  3. WoW!!! De veras q disfruto todas y cada una de las aventuras q nos compartes del nene!!
    Llevo cuatro años disfrutandomelo a distancia!!! Y aún anhelo apretarlo todito!!!
    Dios los bendiga infinitamente cada día!!!
    A tu hijo,
    Tienes una titi admiradora q te quiere un montón y que esta loca por conocerte!!!
    Love you guys!!

  4. Estoy mas q orgulloso del trabajo q estas haciendo por mi sobrino y sus enseñansas no t frustes ni t sientas mal nunca es tarde para aprender los amo mucho y los exteraño cada dia mas eres una excelente madre y cuando mi sobrino cresca y sea un hombre d bien t lo va agradecer desde lo mas profundo d su corazón por todos los exitos q va a alcanzar gracias a ti su madre. Te amo hermana

  5. Yes indeed it has been quite a journey! So Amanda, which of your two children are more receptive to Mandarin Chinese? Your daughter I assume? Would love to know! Thank you so much for your kind words.

  6. Gracias hermanito! Tus palabras me llenan de alegría y hasta por poco me hacen llorar casi, casi! Eso intento ser buena madre. Te amo al igual que tu a mi los extraño un montón. Pero Dios mediante, prontito estaremos juntos.

  7. Ahhh que linda eres! Gracias mil por palabras tan bonitas jajajaja cierto es llevas mucho tiempo esperando para apretarlo todito jajajaja le dire que tiene una titi admiradora! Abrazos desde la distancia!! Dios los bendiga a ustedes tambien. (Por cierto si no te molesta voy a copiar tu comentario en el blog post para que aparezca con los otros comments).

  8. This is a great story and I am very glad to have read it. You noticed a problem and you dealt with it. It gives me great courage and motivation to keep on our own bilingual journey.

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