Hispanic kids...don't speak Spanish

Judy - posted on 03/19/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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Hi guys! i just joined and am having lots of fun here. question, i have 2 boys, 9 and 5 and the 9 year old doesn't speak spanish. I know it's all MY fault, but would like to change that ASAP. any tips that don't include something extremely expensive?
i live in north jersey.

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Jennifer - posted on 07/05/2009

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i am actually a product of this. My father took me to ecuador when i was 13 and left me there over the summer to stay with my grandma and my cousins. I learned A LOT that summer. I can understand it almost 100% and will ONLY speak it when i have to.. like to people who dont speak english.

so basically my suggestion is bring the kids back to the mother country for a while

Laura Iliana - posted on 05/18/2009

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I have a degree in linguistics and I have seen this scenario too many times. Parents are too afraid to speak Spanish or any other language to their kids because they fear they will get both languages mixed up. There is no truth to that. Kids can be raised fully bilingual, but both languages must be separated since birth. If you as a mom are the only source of Spanish, and you switch back and forth between Spanish and English, THAT WILL cause kids to "mix" the languages. But if you stick to Spanish only, kids can separate both languages without a problem. It may take longer to learn both, but eventually, bilingual kids catch up with the monolingual peers.



There is a stage called "the critical period" for the introduction of a second language. That period ends at about 6 years of age. After that, kids can learn the language, but they will never process is as a native. They will have to spend more time studying to fully understand the structure of the language.



So the sooner you start, the better. Buy Spanish books, have them listen to songs, etc. I have found many excellent materials on Amazon.com. The more exposure to the language, the better!

Edith - posted on 03/19/2009

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Flash cards work well and you can do them yourself. Find pictures off of magazines or old children's books and glue them to one side of the cards and on the other side write the word in Spanish. If it's a game it'll be fun for them and they will more like participate. Reward them when they get them right and that should motivate them even more. :o)

[deleted account]

We are in the same boat. I honestly don't know how to approach either. The best way to come around that is to speak Spanish. I am starting to talk Spanish.

Jasmine - posted on 03/19/2009

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Hello how you doing... well i'm having the same problem. I have a 7yr old and he doesn't speak spanish either. What i have been doing is speaking to him in spanish and he is responding. and his teacher gave him a book that is in english and spanish. The book is nomore then 10 dollars. The book is pretty good. I hope my idea helps u and ur boys..... i live in the bronx.

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LuCkY - posted on 12/29/2013

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Every job I apply to prefers a Spanish speaking person. I'm full p.r and don't really know any. I blame my mom she speaks it very well but at this age I should learn on my own. Advice teach them learn online with them!!! Look up free classes or words est. Be a teacher to them good luck

Patricica - posted on 07/31/2012

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One suggestion. Speak Spanish to him, tell him that from now on everyday form this time to this time, you will only speak Spanish to him, and he will have to figure out. You can point at things as you speak, like me das un vaso de agua? and ask what is this?? at least for that time he will get something. Also try to speak to him in Spanish even that he will respond in English. I found out that my children understand more than they can speak, because they are not force to speak. As soon they have to speak it like when family visits, there Spanish is there.
Good luck, I know it is hard!!

Tiff_mom - posted on 07/24/2012

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Well.. I can tell you it's NOT too late.. I myself have just started making a real push to do something about mine learning Spanish (My husband calls it my "full court press on Spanish"), just in the past few months I've made the switch to all Spanish at the house and let me tell you it wasn't too much fun at first(this is probably why I had been putting it off). I for one, feel more comfortable in speaking English. Although I am fluent in both. At first I got a lot of push back, then she would respond to Spanish but she would respond in English. Now, she is slowly making progress toward voluntarily speaking Spanish. I've made a big push to surround her with Spanish in every way. TV, Movies, friends, websites like learn4good.com (free) and the Kid Start Spanish program http://www.kidstartspanish.com(not free, but good) program helps with pronunciation and it includes DVDs, Music, Books, Games and such. Buena Suerte!

Kristiecruz - posted on 03/04/2012

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hello judy!im new here too and i have 2 kids ages 2 and 7. they are half white from me and my husband is puerto rican. my 2 yr old daughter has curly hair which is longer on top then back so ive been wearing it up non stop and now shes balding in top head and im at a loss here i dont know if i should get her hair cut to shape it some or just let it grow?? it also gets very frizzy after sleeping on it so i need to find a product to put in her hair but dont know what to buy. do you have any suggestions lol ty kristie

Hanoi - posted on 03/02/2012

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I have two boys (7 AND 1O) , they are completely bilingual, I have been working with them after school in Spanish. They do their homework and after that they need to read and write in Spanish. I use the same topics that they are learning in school, to ensure they understand vocabulary and concepts.We only speak in Spanish at home, they can speak in English only if we have visits that does not speak Spanish. Sometimes they mix languages and I only help them to find the correct word in Spanish. I am telling them that to speak 2 languages is a competitive advantage and I will help them in they want to learn an additional one.

JESSICA - posted on 07/07/2009

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Watch the spanish channel once in a while. Do u know spanish? If you do then speak to him in spanish even if he answers you in english. My 6 year old neice is half black and half puerto rican. She also can't speak spanish but for the past 6 months she's been speaking certain words and sentences in spanish. Even when my mother speaks to her in spanish, she will answer her in english but that's a start because she nows understands it nd eventually she will be able to spek it.

Tanya - posted on 07/07/2009

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change that! I'm 25 and dont speak spanish! My parents never taught me. I could kill em now that I'm older

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Now I don't feel so guilty that my girls are not picking up spanish like I would like them to, my husband is Portuguesse and my mother in law is introducing that language but my family is in Texan and Im in MA, Dora and Diego only introduce so much, is it ever too late to introduce the language?

Leonor - posted on 07/05/2009

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Our 8 yr old does not speak Spanish and we just moved from Texas to Mexico City (for the next few years)! Yes, it's OUR fault, I know, for not teaching her. My husband and I are both Hispanic (he was born in TX & I was born in Indiana) and have always preferred English. Now, though, she will have the opportunity to learn correct Spanish here in Mexico City. IF we ever have another child, you can be sure that I will teach them Spanish before English as they will learn that in school anyway! :)

Monica - posted on 07/04/2009

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My parents immigrated to Canada when I was 2 yrs old and I speak spanish perfectly -- HOWEVER my 12 year old understands everything and speaks it at home but will not speak it with anyone else except his dad and I. Weird...

Keyla - posted on 07/03/2009

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In our house, I speak to my son in Spanish all the time. I also speak to my husband in Spanish. My cousins had really good results with pretending they didn't understand what the kids said, so they had to speak Spanish. They also sent them to Puerto Rico with their relatives for a month every summer.

Cindy - posted on 06/30/2009

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I am in the same boat. I have a 12yr old daughter and a 13yr old son and I would love for them to speak some spanish but the most spanish that speak is what I say are they count and that is about it. So any help you can give me that isn't exspensive I would appreciate it also.

Yahaira - posted on 06/28/2009

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Hi how are you?? i think thats something very common!!! my son is 4 yr old..he understand everything in spanish but he doesnt speak it...if i ask him a question in spanish he will answer in english!!! i encourage him to say it in spanish but he only says a couple of words!!! what i been doing is when i tell him something in english i say in spanish too...and i practice with him i ask him what is (word) in spanish and he will tell me and if he doesnt know i tell him the answer and i keep on practicing..i think thats all i can do righ now...i cant make him speak spanish he is only 4 yrs old...as long as he understand what ppl say to him..you know...i think when they are older they will speak spanish more!!!

Roxcy - posted on 06/25/2009

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Well, I'm not latina, my husband is latino, (we both speak spanish though) so I'm not sure if I qualify to give advice, but I have had some of the same struggles. At first my daughters spent so much time with my family (his doesn't live in the country) that they didn't see the importance (I am the only one in my family that speaks spanish-leaned it as an adult). Some things that have helped us are: getting a babysitter who only speaks spanish (for my younger girls), join or participate in a spanish speaking church group so they will make a lot of friends and have great leaders who speak spanish and encourage them to, have special guests that they look up to visit your home (adopt a grandma from a church or community group), have their real grandma or other family members visit for extended visits (This can be hard, but the benefits are tremendous), have family parties where you invite other families who only speak spanish over for yummy dinner and fun activities (this makes the kids more motivated to learn or practice because they want to participate in the fun. Anyway, the more motivating it is, the more they want to do it. It takes time, but it will pay off. It is working for us.

Valerie - posted on 06/25/2009

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stop blaming yourself...you made a choice to not teach before and now you are making a choice to teach or make it available...did you look for free online tips? public library? kids sites on internet? if you speak Spanish you can start using your language...see if classes are offered at their school...

Jasmin - posted on 05/18/2009

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There are many things you can do that are not expensive at all but it will take a lot on your part. I know its hard but start speaking to them in Spanish only or at least one person in the household but only in one language so they don't get them mixed up. Have them ask you for things in Spanish and be consistent. Depending on their interest, try to find an activity where they can use their Spanish. If they like a sport have them read about it in Spanish. Read to them in Spanish at night. Remember reading is the key so you should be doing that every day, why not do it in Spanish also. It won't confuse them if you stick with it. Someone mentioned DVD movies in Spanish and flashcards, have him speak to relatives or even write in Spanish, find a Pen Pal (start out slow of course according to ability and age, monitor it closely of course, or you can be their secret pen pal, it will get you close and you can share the letters with them when they are older). Five is a good age because you can review everything they did in Spanish and have them make a Spanish Picture dictionary. My little sisters were like that, they did not want to speak Spanish because of the kids in school (no spanish speakers at all and would tease them) but they could understand it you just have to find something fun where they could use it. there are also tons of websites that they can use to practice their vocabulary and learn new skills.

Jessica - posted on 05/16/2009

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Hi, I have 2 girls, 11 & 4, both of us speak spanish in the house to them. As soon as my oldest enter school , she didn't want to speak spanish anymore. I kept on telling her that it was really important for her to know how to speak and write her parents' native tongue, finally since she was taking spanish at school, she notice she was pretty good in the class compared to others. She also likes to read, so I bought her books with story lines she likes but in spanish. I also send her to visit her grandma in Peru for a couple of weeks. She is then forced to use all the spanish she knows. In regards to the little one, she loves to watch Diego and Dora, I also read her her favorite stories in spanish and her curiosity makes her learn more words each time. Botton line start early, when they grow is more difficult to make them learn something you want without a fight.

Gloria - posted on 05/14/2009

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I FEEL THAT IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING FAST. THEY ARE GOING TO LOSE IT .WE WILL HAVE A BUNCH OF LITTLE HISPANIC THAT DON'T SPEAK ANY SPANISH ITS VERY SAD.... I HAVE THREE BOYS 9,7,3 YEARS OLD AND THEY TRY BUT IT JUST DOSEN'T COME OUT ....I AM MEXICAN BUT I WAS BORN IN CHICAGO , I SPEAK VERY GOOD SPANISH EVEN THOUGH AT HOME MY DAD SPOKE TO US IN ENGLISH AND MY MOM SPOKE TO US IN SPANISH....MY HUSBAND WAS BORN IN MEXICO BUT CAME TO THE US WHEN HE WAS 1YEAR OLD...HE DIDN'T LEARN GOOD SPANISH UNTILL HE WAS GROWN ..AT HOME I SPEAK TO THE BOYS IN SPANISH AND MY HUSBAND ONLY USES ENGLISH. I FEEL BAD FOR THE GRANDPARENTS... BUT THEY DON'T HELP MUCH WHEN THEY SPEAK TO THEM IN ENGLISH....SO THAT THE BOYS COULD UNDERSTAND THEM....WHAT SOULD WE DO???????

Karla - posted on 05/12/2009

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there is nothing better for him that you start speaking spanish all the time , when your eating ,shopping,playing bcs I did this with my 3 year old and since mu husband only speaks english then my son is now billingue , it really works , bcs when he was first born I was just speaking english , but then he was starting to only speaking english , so his pediatrician told me to just start speaking spanish all the time , it works!! :)

Gloria - posted on 05/11/2009

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I always would pick a day of the week to speak only Spanish to my son i wold say "no te entiendo que dijiste dime en espanol" @ first he would complain but he finally caught on.Spanish was my first language I was 8 when i came to the U S and had to learn English,a lot of tv,music,and we weren't allow to speak English @ home.My son is 12 fully bilingual and thought him self how to read Spanish.I would also tell him that his abuelos only spoke Spanish.=0) Always make it fun.introduce new word as often as you can.

Keri - posted on 03/30/2009

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My 2 yr old is picking it up off watching tv any thing from cartoons to the spanish channels that we get.. her dad is no longer around and the hispanic friends and her dads family speaks to Toria in spanish to help me out with her learning it. Plus what I know sometimes i speak spanglish to her

Oriana - posted on 03/29/2009

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the trick is to speak Spanish ONLY at the house. Also, when other people are around, it's a nice way to have him communicate something he doesn't want others to know. They will love that ability... If they speak English back to you, ignore them and tell them that is the new rule. It will work, trust me. I came to the US when I was 8! I am 31, and in my mom and dad's, we are only allowed to speak Spanish. My son now, understand it perfectly!

Suzie - posted on 03/28/2009

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Hey

Make them talk to you only in Spanish. I am PR and cannot talk spanish. My parents spoke to us in spanish but did not make answer back in spanish. It will probably will be hard at first, but worth it when they are older.



Suzie

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My kids are 15, 4 and 2 and finally i'm starting to speak spanish to them. make small conversation with them. i.e. Hola, como estas? then tell them what they supossed to answer like bien, gracias...  and tell them what it means. make fun and don't force it to much! i hope this helps a lil. 

Claudia - posted on 03/25/2009

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Try your local library.  Ours has spanish books on audio and have spanish dvd's and bilingual music CD's.  My son prefers the music CD's.  Here is a link to the one's I have found fun and educational.  Because it's bilingual they pick up on the meanings right away.  Mainly it's consistency in the home though!



http://www.sara-jordan.com/SpanishBMenu....

[deleted account]

Its never to late when they are still young. Just make sure its consistent. I studied bilingualism some and they need to have exposure to it consistently to be bilingual. I.e. at home or class or with a close member of the family... what about spanish at home only? spanish class at home (30 min or something)?

Aileen - posted on 03/19/2009

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I have a friend that used Rosetta Stone, and she said it worked.... but when I was a kid that age and surrounded by English, my mom made me speak Spanish around the house so I wouldn't lose it and I had to speak it to my grandma and she also watched all the novelas in Spanish - which helped, but I dunno if they are more risque at this point.... there are a lot of Spanish hannels on some cable and satelite providers. I'm pretty sure they have kid shows and other stuff. 

Yaya - posted on 03/19/2009

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dont feel so bad! I came to canada when I was 4 years old, I lost my spanish growing up here (mainly because my mom and brother laughed when I would point to a dog and instead of saying "perro" it would come out "pedo" because I had trouble with my R's - it was very discouraging so i stuck to english) My mom does speak spanish to the kids (who are 3 & 5 now) and im slowly trying to relearn it myself. my pronouciation is terrible but i still understand the majority of it (and can read and spell most of it too)
I have used flash cards (make them yourself or buy some) I would teach tehm colours numbers and so on slowly. or occassionally use phrases (mainly "ya te voy a dar!" LOL) have more latin people around that speak it (or with kids who speak it) to encourage your kids. kids pick up language quickly. also try to say the words along with english such as "are you hungry? quires comer? que quires? tortillas?" yes you may have to say it twice in two different languages but at least they'll pick it up =)

Gabrielle - posted on 03/19/2009

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How about letting him watch TV/movies in Spanish? DVD's tend to come with a language option, and if they're ones he knows really well, he can still follow the story and guess at some words. We're going to try that with my daughter.

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