Parents who for whatever reason decided not to speak Spanish to their children when they were bore often wonder if it's too late to start. I always answer the same way: It's NEVER too late. It may be more difficult, but people can learn a new language at any age. My dad, for example, didn't learn English until he was in his early twenties and he mastered his second language like a native speaker.

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Depending on your children's age, there are several things you can start implementing if you're interested in them becoming bilingual. Keep in mind that the older they are, the more resistant they may be to learning a new language, so be patient and stay focused.

For those not yet in school:

1. Start by getting a few children's books in Spanish and read one or two every day. Choose books with simple and easy vocabulary, such as colors and names of animals, for example. Eventually, you can look for a bilingual storytime in a library near you and start taking your kids there regularly.

2. Next, get some children's musica in Spanish and play it as often as possible. Music is a great way to get children exposed to a new language in a fun way.

3. If you let your children use your smartphone or your tablet, why not get them a few apps for them to learn basic Spanish vocabulary? They'll have fun and not even realize they're learning.

For school-aged kids:

1. If they like sports, maybe you can start by teaching them basic terminology related to a particular sport, such as soccer or baseball. You can also enroll them to play in a league where Spanish is spoken regularly, which shouldn't be difficult to find in the more predominantly Laitno neighborhoods.

2. If music or movies are his thing, use Spanish ones to get him interested in the language. Maybe you can teach him the lyrics to a song he really likes in Spanish and explain what they mean. 

3. Send her to a language summer camp--even if it's for a couple of weeks only, the immersion will do wonders to get her started with Spanish and you can build on that at home.

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About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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