Children are amazing, they seem to have an extraordinary capacity to adapt to new environments and situations. When living in a foreign country, it amazes us to see how quickly they can learn the local language. So little ones would seem to be the perfect expats. But, are they?
The reality is that we shouldn’t underestimate the difficulties that little expats can also go through when adapting to their new world.
As a Spanish teacher for adults, I have come across students who are concerned about their children’s adaptation period in Barcelona. At times, kids don’t even want to speak their new language, Spanish. That’s why I’d like to share with you a few of the tips that I’ve given to my students to help their children’s Spanish thrive. And most importantly, to help them smile. Because once they speak Spanish, they will find it way much easier to enjoy their new world.
Watching Spanish TV or videos as a treat
Most children enjoy watching TV. If your kids are happy about watching some Spanish TV all the better. However, if they complain and ask you to watch cartoons in their own language, let them be. After all, the last thing you want is to get them feel anti towards the Spanish language.
What you could do is to offer them to watch some extra TV Spanish time. As soon as they get to know the characters of their new Spanish cartoon, they’ll be asking for more.
Get a Spanish babysitter
If you find that your children’s Spanish needs a push, you could look for a Spanish babysitter. It really works wonders. And don’t worry about having to leave them with a stranger, you can stay at home while your baby sitter talks to your kids. After all, the whole idea is that they get used to communicating
You can also ask your baby sitter to read Spanish illustrated stories to your children. You can find a wide variety of books at your local library.
Join your child in a Spanish extra-class
If your children attend an international school, their main language won’t be Spanish, so you may want to boost their Spanish by registering them in an extra-curricular activity. Thus, they will have the opportunity to mixed with other Spanish speaking kids, play together and feel part of their new community.
I only advice this for children who are not too little. Otherwise, they can end up too tired and it could back fire.
Take your children to the park
What a better place for your children to mingle with the locals than a park. I know it first-hand. I don’t want to brag, but I used to be an expert myself. I have a 14-year-old daughter and I used to go to the park so often! I can tell you, parks are the perfect place for your children – and for yourself – to make new friends, play and talk.
It’s a matter of time
Time is the essence, when it comes to learning Spanish and adapting to their new world. The main thing is that children don’t feel pressured to learn Spanish. Make it fun, make them feel important and celebrate their little successes. And you’ll see that soon they’ll start chit-chatting in Spanish like any other little Spaniard.
I hope it helps. And if you need some help yourself with your Spanish, you can get free resources at: www.spanishcomeseasy.com