Bilingual bebés on board: How cultural travel can help your kids learn firsthand
Traveling is, by far, my favorite thing to do. If I had more money, I'd do it more often. My parents are the ones responsible for my love of travel because they took us everywhere when we were little. Not to mention that I grew up in five countries in three different continents.
Ever since I became a mom of two kids I'm raising bilingual and bicultural, traveling has a whole new meaning. My husband and I try to take our children back to our respective home countries every year so they can visit family and be immersed in Spanish and our Latino culture. Although not cheap, traveling is very important for bilingual and bicultural children for the following reasons:
- Exposure to Spanish ALL THE TIME! Whenever we take our children back to Peru or Puerto Rico, they spend the majority of their time there just playing with their cousins. They are immersed in Spanish all day long and surrounded by kids their own age, and this helps them expand their 'play' vocabulary in Spanish.
- Tons of Spanish music, books, & toys. Besides traveling, my other huge love is reading. Before I had kids, I'd spend a lot of money getting books in Spanish when I traveled to South America. Now, it's all about my kids' needs. Whenever we travel back home, we make sure to stock up on books, music and board games in Spanish.
- Experiencing culture firsthand. Instead of having to tell my children about the food, music, and traditions of their heritage culture, traveling gives them the opportunity to experience these aspects live. I love introducing my kids to the candy I ate growing up, for example, or taking them to visit my dad's only surviving brother who has all kinds of stories to share with them.
- Expanding their horizons. One of the most important parts of going back to Peru and Puerto Rico has been that my kids have seen with their own two eyes that Spanish is spoken in many other countries of the world. This gives my native language the place it deserves and helps my kids realize why it's important that they speak it too.