Here's why you shouldn't be worried about speaking to your kids in Spanish ONLY

Although deep down inside I knew we were doing the right thing, I'm not going to lie, some days, I was truly worried about our decision to speak to our firstborn in Spanish only. I guess it was the part of me that wanted to protect my daughter and make sure she'd be okay in her English-only preschool considering she'd been surrounded by Spanish most of her short life. 

When her teachers told me she was shy, I knew there was something up because that's not an adjective I'd used to describe my little girl. I questioned whether I should've taught her some basic vocabulary in English to help her navigate her new surroundings. But then, I relaxed, confident that learning English was inevitable and would happen faster than I could even imagine.

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And I was right! At almost 8, Vanessa not only masters both her languages, but if I didn't volunteer the information, you'd never know English is not her first language. So much so that she was part of a choir chosen to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Colorado Rockies baseball game yesterday evening. And I couldn't have been prouder!

Listening to her and the other kids' beautiful voices made me remember how wrong I'd been once to be worried that we'd made the wrong decision by not speaking to her in both English and Spanish when she was born. And it also reminded me of the many times I've heard other parents trying to raise bilingual kids worry about the same thing.

While it's normal for parents to worry about and doubt their parenting choices, the reality is that when raising bilingual kids, there's nothing better than exposing them to the minority language--in my case, Spanish--as much as possible and as early as possible. If you're  bilingual, commit to speaking to your child in Spanish only. If you're lucky enough to be married to someone who's also bilingual, commit to speaking to your child in Spanish only.

Some people think that if both parents are bilingual, one should speak English and the other one Spanish. But, as I said before, the best way to ensure your child will grow up bilingual is for him to be exposed to the minority language as often and as early as possible. They'll learn English in no time! I promise! After all, it's all around them and, eventually, it'll become their language of choice no matter what you do. 

Topics: bicultural  child rearing  raising bilingual kids