How do you keep Spanish alive at home? Are there any tips to motivate children when you don’t speak Spanish yourself?
Yes!! It is not that difficult as you think it is. Trust me, even if you don’t speak Spanish you can help your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews and they will love you for that in the future. It is so important to have the support from parents, family and teachers when learning a language. Learning Spanish is not an easy task, if you are taking lessons it is a great start but there is a lot more that you can do at home. Don’t worry! I am not talking about endless boring homework. You and your child can have a lot of fun learning Spanish at home.
Start listening to music in Spanish!!
Music with Sara is the answer! I found Sara through SpanglishBaby. Sara is a homegrown musician from California, USA. She offers music in Spanish and English. When I read the article in SpanglishBaby I was so excited. My daughter and I started to listen to her songs straight away; I thought “Isn’t it great you can hear all her songs on the internet?”. She has some videos too!
Most of her songs are traditional ones so it brought me back to my childhood. Other songs were new for me. I liked Sara’s way of sharing her music and make it so easy to buy/download her album (only if you want to). I did that! Although you can listen to the songs, I wanted to have them!
Sara is the perfect and easiest way to have excellent Spanish music at home. Gracias Sara! I am already using some of her songs in my classes and my students really like them.
Start moving in Spanish!
Songs like Tirilin, for example, are fantastic to dance and move around. Play the song and dance around with your children. Ask them if they liked it or not (if they are old enough to tell you – my 15 month old daughter can’t tell me yet but she lets me know through her body language).
Play other songs too and ask them which one is their favourite. Tell them which one is yours and why.
Start singing in Spanish!
You can also find Sara’s lyrics on her website. You can print them and try to follow the chorus, for example. If that is too much for you and your child, try to sing one/two words. You don’t need to sing the whole song in order to practice Spanish. You both are doing a great job listening and getting use to the sounds!
Once you choose the word/words you are singing, you could find their meaning in the dictionary and discuss with your child what they think the song is about. You don’t need to know the whole translation to talk about this, just encourage your child to use their imagination.
Adiós! is a great song to start singing in Spanish. This song is the last one in her album. Play the song and sing along at the same time you wave “bye” . You can then ask your child (before telling them if they don’t know) Why they think this is the last song? What is she saying?
These are the lyrics:
Adiós! Adiós! Adiós!
Nos vemos muy pronto
Adiós! Hasta luego! Chau!
Bye! Bye! Bye!
We see each other soon
Bye! See you! Bye!
I hope to encourage you to try these activities at home, let me know how you go and if you have any comments. Gracias!