Bilingual Parenting!

As we continue to prepare for the arrival of Penelope by fixing up the house, preparing the nursery, attending parenting classes, and trying to stay on top of details, we are also planning our communication strategy. As most people know, I am Chilean and English is my second language. I didn’t start learning English and speaking it regularly until I began attending college at Belmont University, and most of my family speaks only Spanish. We want our child to be bilingual. We have several reasons why we want Penelope to be fluent in both languages, but by far the most important one is that we want her to able to communicate with her family in the US and Chile without difficulties. Mientras seguimos preparandonos para la llegada de Penelope arrenglando la casa, decorando su pieza, asistiendo a clases sobre bebes, y tratando de afinar detalles, estamos planeando nuestra estrategia de comunicacion. Como la mayoria sabe, soy Chileno y el ingles es my segunda lengua. Empeze a hablar ingles cuando empeze la univerdad en Belmont, y la mayoria de mi familia solo habla espanol. Queremos que nuestra hija sea bilingue. Tenemos varias razones porque queremos que domine ambas lenguas pero la mas importante es que queremos que pueda comunicarse con su familia en Estados Unidos y en Chile sin problemas.



Penny has to be able to communicate with all of her big cousins!! Gia and Jackson (above) holding down the English fort and Ignacia (below) will be chatting it up with Penelope on FaceTime in Spanish ❤ 


So one of the challenges we will face, in addition to being parents for the first time and all the challenges involved in new parenthood, is the fact that we have to figure out the best way to teach Penelope English and Spanish. Leslie and I speak both and we would like our child to follow the same path. Of course, we are not experts and we are not going to follow a prescribed scientific path and explain that on the blog. Instead, our plan is to document our journey and share our experience in a new series of posts throughout Penelope’s childhood about bilingual parenting. We’re looking forward to this journey and we are so excited to raise Penelope in a bilingual household. We failed to raise Chupi, Chori, and Kumi as bilingual pups…so we will do our very best to succeed with Penny! Asi que uno de los desafios que tendremos, aparte de ser padres por primera vez y todo lo que eso significa, es el hecho que tenemos que descubrir la major manera de ensenarle a Penelope ingles y espanol. Leslie y yo hablamos ambos idiomas y queremos que nuestra hija siga el mismo camino. Claro que no somos expertos, no vamos a seguir una recomendacion cientifica y explicar eso en el blog. Nuestro plan es documentar nuestro recorrido y ompartir nuestra experiencia a travez de una serie de posteos a lo largo de la ninez de Penelope sobre como nosotros criamos a una hija bilingue. Estamos con ganas de empezar el recorrido y poder ver a Penelope crecer en una casa de dos idiomas. No lo hizimos bien con Chupete, Choripan, y Kumita…asi que daremos lo major de nosotros para lograr el objetivo con Penelope!
These guys don’t even know “sit” in Spanish. Pathetic.

10 responses to “Bilingual Parenting!”

  1. My parents were first generation Americans–their parents were born in Italy. I wish they’d raised us to speak Italian and English. Instead, Italian was their secret code, used to communicate with each other when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying. That’s not to say we didn’t pick some of it up, though. A few months after Joel and I were married we were having dinner with my parents. My dad made a comment to my mom in Italian. I answered him in English. He looked stunned and asked, “How long?”

  2. This is great! I am bilingual in Spanish and English and my husband only speaks Spanish, so we’re really set on raising a bilingual child. Our method has been I speak English, he speaks Spanish (which is easy for him because that’s all he speaks!). Our son is two and he switches between both languages wonderfully. It’s amazing how versatile kids are at learning languages!

    • That’s great to hear! Since I mainly communicate in English , my Spanish has gotten a little rusty so the idea of speaking Spanish more often to our girl will also help me improve my own language. Congratulations on raising a bilingual child!

  3. We are a bilingual Spanish. I am puertorican, my husband is a puertorrican born and raise in Massachusetts. We have two boys, they speak both Spanish and English. They are the only two kids on my husband part of the family that understand spanish. If I can give you an advice. Speak spanish at home, they will learn english at school, with friends, watching TV. It had work wonderfull for us.

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