Our 2019 Bilingual Parenting Resolutions

Happy 2019! It’s the first full week of the year and we’re ready to get back to work. We’re also ready to continue traveling down this bilingual parenting path with our daughters and our small community of listeners and followers.

In our last episode, we shared the lessons we learned from seven months of recording the Entre Dos Podcast. It turns out that they also make good resolutions, so we wanted to share them with you here on the blog. We hope these five lessons will inspire you and motivate you in 2019.

Don’t get overwhelmed – Bilingualism is a long road and you can’t get too focused on the smaller problems. Think that every day you’re doing your best to try and give your kids that gift of a second language. And on most days, that is enough. Focusing too much on the little details can derail you and sometimes take away motivation.

Look at bilingualism as a process rather than an end goal – We can’t predict the extent to which our children will become bilingual. Will they lose their minority language as they age? Will they stop wanting to use it? Will they be able to write in it? Instead of seeing bilingualism as the end goal, try to focus on what you do day to day, know that it’s a long process that may go through ups and downs, and have faith that what you’re teaching your kids will have a positive impact.

Create opportunities for exposure – Not everyone has a community around them that supports bilingualism or second language learning. If you’re having trouble finding opportunities to expose your children to the minority language outside your home, create them. Make them special. Monika has “Sábados en Español” with her daughter. Every Saturday, they spend their mornings together doing activities in Spanish. Whether it’s going to story time, going the library or having brunch, she and Zoe are spending time together interacting in Spanish only. Plus, they’re spending quality time together.

Reach out – Don’t be afraid to connect with other families or people who may provide opportunities for your children to hear and use the minority language. Get together with another family who is raising a bilingual child, reach out to your local library and ask about starting a story time, or organize a Spanish-language playdate. The possibilities are there and you’ll be surprised at how receptive people are to these ideas. We’re just starting to learn this ourselves.

Have fun – Don’t forget to have fun! It’s easy to get bogged down by all the advice we hear, and what we feel we and our children should be doing or are not doing, but it’s important to not let that get in the way of having fun. Remember that every family is different and there is no right or wrong way to raise a bilingual child.

What would you add? We’d love to hear how you’re approaching bilingualism in 2019.