I just read an article that validates the struggle I’ve been having for years to get my children to speak Spanish.
The article is based on a study which concluded that fully bilingual children of immigrants have a great advantage in the job market – they usually get higher salaries. Whereas those who learn English but don’t master their immigrant family’s mother tongue make an average of $2,000 to $5,000 less a year than bilingual youth.
As if this weren’t enough, the number of bilingual kids that tend to finish their college education is also higher than those who speak English only.
I’ve always stressed about the importance of speaking at least two languages to my kids, but it’s not easy. They speak in English with their friends, and also at school. That’s why it’s so hard for me to implement Spanish at home.
I talk about this challenge and how I’ve endured it in my book “Vive tu vida al Rojo Vivo”.
This is my advice for moms who don’t want their kids to forget Spanish. If they speak to you in English don’t fall into the temptation of answering in English as well. Also, text them in Spanish only.
If your kids refuse to speak to you in Spanish, pretend you’re deaf -you don’t understand! If they tell you the same thing they tell me: “Mom, explaining a story in Spanish is too difficult, tell them that’s exactly why they need to practice; pressure them to speak in Spanish. When they can’t find the precise word, tell them what the correct term in Spanish is. Only then will they be able to enhance their vocabulary.
They will complain a lot, I know. They’ll get frustrated and irritated with the “naggy mom”; but, in the long run, they’ll thank you. Especially when they start to work and they get a bigger paycheck at the end of the month.