I have had this same frustration many times before! I hope that you can help me! Please comment with any suggestions.
I feel like my kids need more Spanish!! They need more than just me and my husband (we do have a babysitter that speaks only in Spanish, thank goodness!). I am a part of a wonderful group of moms that speak Spanish to their children. The problem: my oldest daugher (5 1/2) needs a friend that only speaks in Spanish with her. There are a few boys her age in the group. She enjoys playing with boys, but loves playing with girls. Some of the boys speak Spanish, but most of them switch into English pretty quickly. My daughter can really speak Spanish and carry on great conversations with me, but if the conversation goes English, she does, too! Don't get me wrong, I still want her to build friendships in this group. It is wonderful, but I feel like she needs to really feel a need to speak in Spanish. Her Spanish would take off and she would have the motivation she needs.
I have to say there have been a few times that I have felt like giving up. One time we went to a park playdate. Another 5 year old little girl was coming from the Spanish speaking group. My daughter was so exctied to meet someone her age that spoke in Spanish. We got there and the mom with the 5 year old only spoke English to the other moms. Her daughter was shy, but eventually she went to the sandbox. My daughter went over and started playing with her (in Spanish). The girl moved away from her and didn't say a word. This went on for about an hour. My daughter wanted to go home eventually because she wouldn't play with her! Driving home, I wondered why I am even teaching my kids Spanish if no one will talk to them!
My biggest pet peeve is when Spanish speakers meet my daughter and then they switch into English instantly and don't even try to let her speak in Spanish. I tell them she speaks Spanish and I know they are thinking "Oh, yeah, I bet she knows her colors and watches Dora." I don't know how to communicate that she really can speak Spanish!
I have thought about starting an older playgroup, but I don't know if the kids will really speak Spanish or if there is any interest in doing this because of busy schedules. As many of you know, I am homeschooling her right now. She is in Kindergarten and we do a lot in Spanish. Schedules are getting busier with kids her age. But I really feel that if I don't find a friend soon, she will lose motivation. I have been known to go up to strangers in the park and try to get to know any child I see speaking Spanish. I feel like people think I am strange and fanatical!!
There are several Spanish classes in the area (all immersion). Some are about $22 an hour and, again, there really are kids to play with, just the instructor speaks Spanish. They are also teaching and reviewing things she already knows (colors, shapes, parts of the body).
I just don't know what to do!
Thanks for letting me express my frustrations. I read amazing articles from Spanglish Baby like this one. I feel like I want to do those things, but they don't seem possible. Please let me know any suggestions you have.
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