Three Ways to Reinforce Bilingualism During the Holidays
As the holiday season comes around, it’s important that your bilingualism journey continues to be a priority even amidst all the excitement, and sometimes chaos, around the holidays. After all, language practice should be embedded into your child’s daily routines and activities, so the holidays are no exception. In fact, the holidays can even work in your favor when it comes to getting your little ones excited about practicing their second language. We’re here to help you take advantage of this magical time of the year and use the holidays as a time to propel your child’s bilingualism journey forward, in a fun and exciting way!
Here are three of our favorite most practical ways to get your child practicing their second language during the holiday season:
1. Sleigh new words! For families looking to promote bilingualism at home, the cheerful holiday spirit is the perfect time to get your little ones excited about learning new vocabulary words in the target language that relate to the holiday. Teach your child new words they can practice in conversation as you discuss and prepare for the holiday – this may mean learning them yourself for the first time too! For instance, if you celebrate Christmas, this could be a great opportunity to introduce relevant words like árbol/tree, luces/lights, adornos/ornaments, reno/reindeer, or regalo/gift (we’re sure they’ll somehow manage to remember this one and use it often!) Motivate your child to practice these new words leading up to the holiday and throughout the celebrations and use them yourself so they are exposed to them even more.
2. Practice through conversation! If you’ll be spending the holidays with friends or family who speak your child’s target language, it’s important to take advantage of this time together to speak, hear and get comfortable with their second language. Ask them beforehand to please speak the second language around your child. Practicing the target language with those who speak it is an amazing way to increase your child’s exposure and help them pick up new words. When children hear other people, especially those their age, like cousins, or those who they love dearly, like grandparents, speaking the target language, they may become motivated to also speak this cool new language. It’ll give them an opportunity to show off the new words they have mastered as well. Not to mention, it will expose them to new, advanced vocabulary and sentence structures.
3. Enjoy family activities in the target language! There’s no time like the holidays to spend quality time together as a family. This is the perfect opportunity to use downtime to enjoy family activities in the target language such as reading alongside your child. Tools like Binibi’s bilingual books for kids, make it fun and effortless to practice language in an interactive way that also promotes family bonding and communication. You can sing and dance along to the songs in musical books as well, like those found in Binibi’s musical books, to practice language while also having a great time. You can also watch movies together in the second language, play puzzles that help you identify and practice new words, or cook together as you teach your child ingredient names in their second language. For non-native speakers, this may mean preparing for the activity ahead of time and learning new words to then teach the child. Take advantage of this time before the holidays to plan out your activities and prepare keywords that your child will enjoy learning during the activity. The plus side is, you’ll learn new words too!
With these easy-to-implement tips that reinforce bilingual learning, we hope Spanish is top on the list of gifts Santa brings this year!