Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: the dark side of the moon.
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I think that when you are choosing to use a language that is not the language spoken in your surroundings, you really need to be firm about keeping up with the language. Especially once the kids start getting older and have more friends who speak English, perhaps even go to English preschool or daycare or school, etc.
My son is only 3, so we haven't hit a period where he refuses to speak the language but he definitely speaks more English (probably about 60%/40%, so not much more English though). I try to counteract this by ONLY speaking Spanish all the time, even in front of English-speaking families or other situations where I think many parents fall into the habit of using English. Also, when he responds to me in English, I'll often repeat back to him what he said in Spanish. So, he says, "look, a truck!" and I say "mira, un camión!" and follow up on it with a question in Spanish.
Knowing some other bilingual families with kids much older than my son, I can see that it is SO important to insist on that second language, especially as the kids get older. My Latina friends whose parents refused to speak English at home are all fluent in Spanish while the families where the parents allowed the kids to respond in English have kids who can understand Spanish but not speak it.
raising my two sunshine children.