Friday, January 18, 2008

Spanish Story Time

By Bilingual Dad ( husband of Maestra Jen)

"Make sure you take him to the restroom”, my wife reminded me as she walked out the door to enjoy a few, very much needed hours free of her mom/teacher job. I was confident I had it under control and I was sure he would let me know when he needs to go. It is a never ending process of chaos and drama, as we are both diligent and frustrated with the potty training process of our precocious, stubborn, 3 year old son! We were busy playing and having a great time ( of course, I had forgotton to take him to the restroom). Well, my wife was right as usual. Here I was running to the bathroom with toddler in tow scrambling to reach the toilet in time! All the while, my son is squirming, whining and just being a generally uncooperative.

Suddenly I found myself in one of those teachable moments, as I think to myself, “Would this be a good time to practice Spanish story time”? Well fortunately, we had a copy of Como aprenden los colores los dinosaurios, which is a pretty cool story about dinosaurs. I immediately got my son’s attention and he actually listened intently to the entire book. He even asked me to read it again. Of course the second reading included a few questions en español to reinforce the vocabulary and story line. We even had enough time to read another favorite libro en español, Tortillitas para Mamá.

We are making huge strides in potty training my son to the delight of my wife who spends most of her day with him, while simultaneously running a business. However, this is not the purpose of this blog. So, aside from providing a couple of potty training tricks, the real moral of the story is capitalizing on the many opportunities we have throughout the day to reinforce and practice Spanish. It is easy to forget but extremely important as repetition and frequent (almost constant) exposure is extremely important in raising bilingual children. We have many other times that we have Spanish story time with our children (besides during potty training); such as bedtime, on road trips, plane trips, afternoon quiet time and when my daughter pretends she is the Spanish teacher. We like to make learning fun and relevant to their lives. As parents raising our kids in a bilingual household, we try to take advantage of every teachable moment regardless of the setting!