Thu, 22 June 2017
On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I host a consulting call with one of our members, Bruna. We address and plan some of the upcoming changes that Bruna's little one will experience at school and even at home with a third language.
Tue, 6 June 2017
On this episode, I share strategies that you can use when teaching Spanish to elementary students. Listen up to get the scoop on some of my favorite methods to get kids this stage to stay engaged!
Tue, 23 May 2017
On this episode of the podcast, I tell you about a survey I am doing and share with you top episodes you may have missed and are most certainly worth listening to, not once but twice!
Thu, 11 May 2017
On this episode, i share five easy strategies to teach preschoolers Spanish. We also talk about what you can expect during this age group so you know how to maximize your time with your kids.
Tue, 2 May 2017
On the episode, I have a consulting call with one of the members from the Bilingual Avenue Members' Club. We talk what about you can do when there are not many people in the community that speak your target language, discuss resources for teaching reading and writing in Spanish and even talk about other podcasts in Spanish.
Tue, 25 April 2017
On this episode, I discuss my favorite strategies for learning toddlers learn language. i also give some examples of the toys i have used in the past to help with each of the strategies.
Thu, 20 April 2017
On this episode, I interview 123 Andrés and Cristina to chat about the beautiful musical work that they are doing for bilingual kids around the world. Tune in to get inspired and get to know this rockstar for little l language learners.
Tue, 4 April 2017
You can teach baby Spanish by setting a strong development foundation from the early days. A baby’s brain has the ability to grow at an outstanding rate! Babies are amazing! They have so much to learn in that first year of life. I have personally found the first year with each of my little ones to be very challenging while very rewarding at the same time.
There is a lot happening in their little brains. The seeds for language development are already being planted well before they even utter the first word. We as bilingual parents can start helping them develop these skills from the very beginning.
I want to share with you some toys that can help you teach baby Spanish. You can use them for other target languages as well since they all help to work on foundational skills.
Mon, 27 March 2017
On this special episode of Bilingual Avenue, I share with you my personal struggles around language and how my family and I handled our ups and downs. I also share with you my lessons learned and how it led me to create Bilingual Avenue.
Tue, 21 March 2017
Teaching your kids Spanish seems daunting but with a combination of mindset and action you can establish a strong foundation for your kids’ language journey. You can do this whether you are teaching your kids your native language or whether you are choosing to pass on to them one that you learned later in life and may not even speak all that well. Check out this episode to get some easy tips!
Thu, 9 March 2017
On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I share activities that you can carry out at a bilingual play date.
Let’s talk a bit about how children of different ages play. This will help you with your planning and to make sure that you are meeting the needs of your participants.
Play date activity tips by age group
0-2 year olds
Kids at this age learn by exploring with their hands and mouth. They absolutely love to bang, throw, drop, shake and put things in their mouth. Now I understand you don’t necessarily want a bunch of toddlers throwing and banging things around your house. But you can include things like sensory bins for them to play. Add some toys that can help you work on target words in the bin to make sure you incorporate some language. Keep in mind that toddlers will generally not play with another child but instead play in parallel.
3 – 5 year olds
Children this age love imaginary play which is great because there is so much you can do here to work on language skills. Create activities that tap into children’s fantasy play and imagination. The best part about this age group is that they are much more likely to interact with other kids. My kids have both loved to interact with play little kitchens which is great because you can incorporate lots of vocabulary around pretend food and pretend cooking. You can also adapt this activity for different ages.
6 – 9 year olds
Little ones at this age are able to create deeper connections with friends. However, with deeper connections also comes conflict. Be aware that while hosting a play date this age there could be some arguing. This is generally because children in this age group are much more competitive and can get very disappointed if they lose.
Therefore, avoid activities that involved winners and losers. In fact, for this stage I recommend having one friend over for a play date. Keep it even smaller than before to reduce the likelihood of arguments. Dress up for example is fun for this age group and there is no competition. It also allows for some very natural ways to introduce vocabulary through articles of clothing.
10 -14 year olds
Older kids can enjoy play dates too. There will likely be a lot less parent guidance for this group and much more free play. Keep in mind that peer pressure has a big influence with kids this age. Silliness comes in super handy with this group so consider that when planning your activities.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Don’t overthink it and host one. They will only get better with time and you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Tue, 28 February 2017
A language play date is a great way to add more exposure and create a need for your kids to use the target language! There is something just magical about bilingual kids seeing their peers actively engaging in the same target language.
Personally it has been very useful for our language journey. It is a great way to show my kids the value of communicating in Spanish.
But often times, if we want to get a language play date started, we have to create it ourselves. The planning process can seem daunting and you may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle!
It must certainly is but let me share with you some ideas on how to make it manageable for you and productive for the kids.
Tue, 21 February 2017
Music is one my favorite tools to integrate into the language learning process for little kids. Songs provide a simple, fun and interactive way for children to interact with language and with culture.
There are also many benefits to incorporating music into your language journey. Read through this list and see if you can avoid humming a few of your favorite tunes!
Are you sold on why you need to make this front and center on your language journey?
I know what you may be thinking. Finding music in your target language isn’t always easy! I am hoping I can change your mind after reading this post!
We are so lucky to live in such a powerful digital age withe endless possibilities, one of them being the ability to stream music!
On a previous post, Todd shared how he often listens to Disney Princess in Spanish in the car while driving our kids. He uses a playlist from Apple Music to do so.
This service is amazing because it allows you to stream music found in the app. You can even download it to your phone so you can listen to it on the go.
We use Apple Music but there are many other services such as Spotify, Tidal, Pandora to name a few. Now there are some country limitations. For example, when we lived in Germany we did not have access to Pandora, however, we did have access to Spotify. Your choices may or may not be limited depending of your region of the world.
Perhaps the best part about most of these music streaming services is that they offer access to music from artists from all over the world. This makes it so much easier to find music in the language you are working on with your kids.
For some of these services you can create a personalized list of songs based on artists that you enjoy. You could pick a handful of artists that sing in your target language and the services does the rest of the work for you.
This could be hit or miss based on your language. For example, when my first was born about 4.5 years ago there were only a handful of children's songs in Spanish on Pandora and our list was, therefore, fairly limited but it was still better than nothing.
If you are not using a streaming service to get a better variety of music in your target language I strongly encourage you to do so. Especially since for most of these services if you pay the monthly or annual fee you have the ability to download songs to your phone so you can listen to them with your kids any time you want.
I have a mix of kinds songs in Spanish and a few of my favorite artists. I am not one that gets tired of listening to the same song time after time. However, I do need to sometimes get a break from kids’ music. I can pop in an artist like Franco de Vita and know that the kiddos are still listening to Spanish words even if just passively.
How can you use this tool in your home to infuse more exposure to your day?
Fri, 17 February 2017
A reading routine is essential in any home and arguably even more so in a bilingual household!
Reading aloud to your kids is the most effective and perhaps simplest technique you can use to support your children’s language and literacy skills. Research has found that the number of words that a child knows by the time they enter Kindergarten is a predictor of his or her success. Reading lets you work on your child’s vocabulary better than any other activity.
As bilingual parents, we are always looking for ways to address
A solid and consistent reading routine can help you instill a love for books from an early age. It also allows you to set an example to show your kids that reading can be a pleasurable activity.
As if that wasn’t enough, reading can help your children develop lots of other skills such as phonics, comprehension, storytelling, and even familiarity with printed words.
You probably already knew that setting up a reading routine was time well spent and an investment in your kid’s future.
But my question is, are you getting the MOST out of your reading routine with your kids?
I am going to share some of my best tips for creating a productive reading routine even if you don’t yet have one!
Tue, 7 February 2017
Have you ever thought about how accountability can help you on the bilingual journey?
This month, bloggers from around the world are coming together to write about the fascinating world of raising bilingual kids with topics from A to Z.
Bilingual Avenue is kicking things off with accountability!
It is not uncommon to lack the motivation needed to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Some days we are full of energy and ready to take on the world. Then on other days those same goals seem simply impossible!
As busy parents, we sometimes let everyday life get in the way of achieving our goals. This is one of the reasons why I believe it is so important to find ways to stay accountable to your family’s language objectives.
There are two main types of accountability, personal and external.
Some of us have stronger will powers than others. I would ask that you reflect on your own ability to carry through your commitments. If you know that you have a difficult time achieving personal obligations, then you may want to set up systems to strengthen your personal accountability.
It can be as simple as writing yourself a letter that you will revisit when you reach tougher times on your family’s language journey. But it can also be as elaborate as drafting a detailed daily routine that includes all sorts of language exposure for your child.
The key here is to find ways to create personal accountability as a tool to help you stay motivated when raising bilingual kids gets tough!
One great way to find personal accountability is to reflect on WHY you want to raise bilingual kids in the first place. Don’t be afraid to dig into your reasons!
To help you think through how you may leverage accountability for your own family, I am giving you a bit of homework.
List three personal reasons why you have chosen to raise multilingual children that can keep you personally accountable to your family’s language goals.External Accountability
This group does not have to be limited to just bilingual individuals. Even your child’s pediatrician can serve as external accountability. Strive to find pediatricians who are supportive of multilingualism. They can help you assess your child’s language development just like they assess other developmental indicators.
As your child gets older, schools can serve as part of your accountability team. When you first start out, you may not know exactly how your external accountability will develop. Give it some time and push yourself to increase this type of accountability overtime.
Just like I gave you homework to dig into your personal accountability, I want you think about your external support network.
List three individuals or groups that will assist in holding you accountable through your family’s language journey.
For more inspiration to raise your bilingual kids, make sure to check out all the other wonderful posts in the A to Z of raising bilingual kids.
Tue, 7 February 2017
On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I help you take action on your language journey by sharing 3 activities you can do with your kids around valentine's day!
Each of these three activities can be adapted for any time of year. The key is to show your kids the power of love, relationships and friendships while working on the target language.
Get your hands on the free printable for two out of the three activities at www.bilingualavenue.com/episode153
Tue, 24 January 2017
On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I chat with Aimee Helfand, the creator of BabyLeague and Famileague on her approach to raising a bilingual child as a single mom.
Tue, 17 January 2017
On this episode, Todd and I give you a recap of our year as a bilingual family.
Tue, 10 January 2017
On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I chat with Laura and Abner Solano about their language journey. We discuss podcasts, learning targets for bilingual kids and how to avoid the most common pitfalls for bilingual families.