MomViews: Raising Bilingual Grandchildren
Caring for a grandchild is like caring for your own baby all over again. They are the generation that follows and there’s nothing more precious than to watch them develop into independent adults. Bohemian Babushka of Babushka’s Baile shares her experience with caring for her bilingual grandchildren in this week’s MomViews segment.
MomViews: You’re pretty involved in your grandchildren’s lives, and I’m sure it’s a blessing for them to have you around. Whether you’re dancing around or taking them out to a local attraction, it seems they genuinely enjoy your company. How have you been able to create such a lovely bond with your little ones?
BB: Bribery. Seriously. They call me “Lela Lollipop” because I always have snacks and goodies in my purse for them. Also, they instinctively know Babushka loves them 110% for who they are, as they are, and will always be their #1 groupie!
MV: As a first generation Cuban-American raised in Miami, did you find it difficult to stay close to your native roots?
BB: Bueno, as close to my roots as I was taught to be. Wasn’t taught Spanish, so it truly is “en la sangre” when it comes to loving our culture and our people.
MV: Your grandchildren speak and understand Spanish and English. How important was it for you to help them stay true to their Latino heritage?
BB: English, si, they speak…Spanish, not so well. Although two of them enjoy speaking Spanish and understand it perfectly, the eldest two roll up their eyes and sigh when asked to converse in Spanish. BB would LOVE for them to speak the language. Now the part about being proud of their heritage? THAT they’ve never had a problem and are very fast to share their ancestry.
MV: Are there any challenges you’ve faced while teaching your grandchildren a second language? If so, please share.
BB: First challenge is that BB herself doesn’t speak Spanish correctly, so you can imagine how MY children speak it! The advantage is that media is more available in Spanish now, especially films/programs that are dubbed. Hopefully they’ll be watching some of those..
MV: What tips can you offer grandparents who are looking to introduce their grandchildren to a second language?
BB: Get as many Spanish/English apps as you can and look at YouTube for their favorite characters in Spanish. Catchy, easy to say songs are always hit, and adults can sing along with them too.
Join me next Wednesday for another installment of MomViews, insights from moms like you.