I receive many emails asking how to teach kids Spanish. Many are from parents, grandparents, and even care givers who are not teachers and want to introduce Spanish to the little loved ones.
A couple of days ago Janet McDonald a grandma of 2 asked me “I am trying to teach my grand children Spanish, what is the best and easy way to teach them? Our goal is for them to learn it in 9 months, they are ages 9 and 4.
I said to myself I really have to post an article about how to teach kids Spanish. My goal here? Simple:
- Give you a start guide.
- Guide you to reinforce Spanish language with fun activities.
Start Guide to Teach Kids Spanish
Analyze Environment and Set Goals
- Analyze how much time, effort, money you want to invest in the process.
- Set realistic goals without pushing the envelope. How do you do it? By looking at the ages of the children, their ability with languages or by seeing their previous experience with Spanish through a nanny, school, etc.
- Consider family background in terms of languages and culture. Are parents, grandparents or persons in contact with the child willing to interact with him in Spanish? Also, learning a language with culture goes way faster than just by learning it through plain lessons. Is there a chance to expose the child to Hispanic culture?
Materials and Resources
Many people think that with just one hour a week a child is going to become a great Spanish speaker. Unfortunately that is not the case. Like anything in life you want to achieve time, dedication and resources have to be committed to the goal set before.
Through experience as a Spanish teacher, a mother of a Spanish speaking son, and by tutoring children in the past, I found the best combination for success. A triad of software, music and cultural experience…here it is:
Use Music as Much as You Can
I have Spanish songs that my son loves and we have been listening to them since he was a baby. Repetition does wonders when it is natural and through songs.
Here are 2 CDs and 1 book I chose because they have the lysics to some of the most beloved children’s songs in Spanish like a la rueda rueda, la muñeca vestida de azul, antón pirulera and many more.
You can find the songs in YouTube but rarely with the lyrics. Also here i have a section for Spanish learning songs, use it regularly.
Take Advantage of Hispanic or Spanish Cultural Events
Make it a habit to check for cultural events and venues. For example holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Day of the Dead, and Hispanic Christmas are a perfect opportunity to practice language and share culture.
Celebrate Hispanic Month with songs, foods, and music at your kids’s school.
Join a Spanish Club
While learning, practicing is very important. Many moms gather to teach kids Spanish through videos, typical foods, and games like loteria which reinforce language very well. Make it a habit to once a month attend the Spanish club.
Look also for Spanish speaking friends your children can have. Make play dates and try to dedicate some time to playing a game in Spanish, play music in Spanish or simple try to speak some words. It will help the Spanish learning process become natural.