Hola! I’m Vanessa Nielsen Molina, an entrepreneur, educator, and mamá to three little bilingual Mexican-Ecuadorian-American girls.
On September 15th, 2021 I’m opening the doors to BILINGUIFY
, a program I created to help Latinx parents that want to raise bilingual kids, but have a hard time staying motivated or don’t quite know where to start. I always say that BILINGUIFY! is like bilingual parenting summer camp (...in September) that helps us all connect with the fun and JOY of raising bilingual kids.
Because the truth is that as Latinx moms, sometimes there's a lot of shame and guilt and just FEELINGS (and people) involved in whether or not we speak Spanish to our kids, how much Spanish our kids know, or even how much Spanish WE speak. And at the same time, we know that bilingualism is a gift that has so many cognitive benefits, not to mention its importance in connecting with people (often in our own families) that speak only or mostly Spanish.
It’s something I think about often, but especially during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. Because of course, language doesn’t change your heritage—it’s not like you’re less Latinx if you don’t speak Spanish. Language is just a point of connection.
But after years of working in the field of bilingualism, what I understand now, more clearly than ever, is that bilingualism is the key that opens doors to relationships with people that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. And in our fractured world, that type of bridge-building is exactly what we need more of.
I feel so passionately about helping empower Latinx parents to raise babies that feel rooted in their heritage and in the language of their families. If you’re raising (or want to raise) bilingual kids, I hope you will join us in BILINGUIFY
! this month!
And while I would love to see you there, I also want to share something you can do today to connect with the FUN of raising bilingual kids. It’s my #1 strategy to make sure you never feel like speaking Spanish with your kids is just complicating your life or adding more to your to-do list! Are you ready?
My best tip is to connect español with something that you and your kids love. Do you like music? Dance to Spanish music in the kitchen! Are you a movie-loving family? Try watching some in Spanish! Do you like going out for ice cream together? Try making it a Spanish-only event!
It doesn’t really matter what the activity is. The whole point of raising bilingual kids is to help them connect with other humans. So it only makes sense that the best way to make “Spanish = love & connection” in our kids’ minds, is to give them as many experiences as possible where they feel both loved by, and connected to, someone that’s speaking Spanish. And if that someone is you? Pues ¡qué mejor!
—Vanessa Nielson Molina