Making sure your child keeps speaking Spanish is hard they enroll in an English immersion program. (Photo courtesy Flickr/mrchrishill)

SpanglishBaby: Maintaining Spanish at home when your child’s exposed to only English in school

Nena, aquí es donde vas aprender inglés, pero con mami y papi vas a seguir hablando español, ¿okay?” (This is where you are going to learn English, but with mom and dad you’ll continue speaking Spanish, okay?)

Mami y Papi español.” (Mom and Dad Spanish.)

Si, en la casita de Sabrina hablamos español.” (Yes, at Sabrina’s home we speak Spanish.)

Casita español, mami.” (Little house Spanish, mommy.)

I had a knot in my throat and my eyes were beginning to swell up with tears as I kissed my  2 1/2-year old’s forehead. This was her first day in an English immersion setting. From the day she was born her interactions with others (including daycare) occurred +90% of the time in Spanish. I knew that today and the weeks to come marked a new chapter in her life. I knew that it would likely change her. I knew that she would learn English at an extremely fast pace given the amount of exposure she would have — she was also going full-time to daycare for the first time. What I feared most was that our Spanish-speaking relationship would change.

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