Do you want to raise a bilingual child and are simply overwhelmed by the amount of information out there?
On today’s show, I have a Latina mom of 2, she’s a teacher, an entrepreneur, and founder of Nene Bilingue, Veronica Villa, better known as Vero.
Join us as she provides 5 practical techniques for raising bilingual children, we talk about the struggles of being quarantined, and traditions that she’s like to pass down to her kids.
Plus, you’ll want to stick around to the end to receive 12 Free Bilingual Book Buddies Newsletters filled with practical bilingual activities you can do with your kids right in the comfort of your home, asi que no te lopierdas.
As a teacher turned stay-at-home mom, Voeronica Villa had a plethora of ideas and was able to find lots of resources for her children. She soon found that she needed to translate almost everything and began to dedicate time to provide her children authentic experiences in both languages.
Nene Bilingüe is truly a little passion project. She hopes to build a community of like-minded parents who are also searching for ideas and resources. Please enjoy browsing her site and all of the unique content she has to offer. Take a look around; perhaps you’ll find a thing or two that can help you raise your bilingual little ones.
Recommended Spanish Apps
Vero: Because every home is such a unique makeup that we definitely want to make sure that our children are the ones who are leading us with their interests because, obviously, then you're turning into something where it's imposed on them. Then, they lose interest, and it's not fun. All of a sudden, you have a child who doesn't want to speak the target language.
Janny: You are listening to episode 11, season 2 of The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast. Do you want to raise a bilingual child and are simply overwhelmed by the amount of information out there? On today's show, I have a Latina mom of two. She's a teacher, an entrepreneur, and founder of Nene Bilingüe, Veronica Villa, better known as Vero. Join us as she provides five practical techniques for raising bilingual children. We talk about the struggles of being quarantined and traditions that she'd like to pass down to her kids. Plus, you'll want to stick around to the end to receive 12 free Bilingual Book Buddy newsletters filled with practical bilingual activities that you can do with your kids right in the comfort of your home. Así que no te lo pierdas.
Intro: You're listening to The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast, where we empower moms raising bilingual kids, talk about growing up Hispanic and tradiciones, and celebrate madrehood. It's time to keep it real. Learn tips and tricks from other moms like you and start creating a legacy your abuela would be proud of. If you're a Latina mom or have a multi-cultural family like mine, then you’re in the right place. I am your host, proud immigrant daughter, rock star wife, mom to five-year-old Victoria Grace -- ¡Soy yo! -- Mi LegaSi founder and cafecito lover, Janny Perez.
Janny: Hola, hola. How are you? I hope that you're doing well. How was your Memorial Day weekend? I hope you had a great weekend. I hope it was fun. I hope you got to relax. I hope you weren't one of the thousands of people that were at the beach. Scary. Our Memorial Day was pretty low-key. We just stayed home. I did laundry, and we grilled a little bit. I'm still not ready to venture out in front of a ton of people, so, yeah, we opted to stay indoors. That was all good. Que te pareció our last episode of Mother's Day? Did you like it? I hope you did. If you haven't listened to that one, that's episode 2.10. We had some great guests who shared their stories about their moms and how their moms impacted their lives. We laughed. We cried. It was a really good one. I will always treasure it because Victoria was so cute, and she talked about me. It was just very sweet and, coming from a five-year-old, so very special.
Summer is coming. It's kind of crazy. It is so crazy. Here we are, May, and I am wearing hoodies. Last year I was sweating like a pig, and this year it's cold. I mean, for me, I'm a Florida girl, it's cold. I don't know what's going on with the weather. I'm trying to plan summer and trying to figure out activities and things to do with Victoria. Pools are all sold out. I was going to get a kiddie pool or splash pool, and I don't know if that's going to happen because everything is like sold out. I don't know what's going on. I mean, I guess it's good. Everybody's staying home. Trying to find activities to keep her entertained, to keep her engaged. We're probably not going to be starting school until the fall, God willing. So it's going to be a long summer. You know, one day at a time. That's all we can do.
It's not easy when you have to balance raising a child, working from home, running a small business, and everything else that that entails. So, if you're curious, I'm actually going to be talking about that on HITN Learning in their "Moms in Quarantine" series. It's a great series, and they've had some great guests that talk about life during quarantine. I'll be talking about the challenges that I'm currently facing running my small home-based business and home schooling and trying to raise this little girl that has a lot of energy. You know, she's bright, and it's just very mentally exhausting for me. But all good. So we'll be talking about that. That's going to happen Thursday May, 28, live on IG. That's going to happen at 3:00 PM. So, if you want to follow HITN Learning, you can do that. Or can you follow me.
Today I have a great guest, Veronica Villa, better known as Vero from Nene Bilingüe. Great insight, great tips on techniques that we can use and do right in the comfort of our home. So powerful, especially now at this time, where many of us are staying at home with our kids. She has some great tips because, right now more than ever, it's very challenging to raise bilingual kids when you don't have your typical network and your typical support system. Talking to her really gave me some great, insightful information. I'm so happy to share that with you. That is it. Have a great week. Espero que te guste. Stay safe. Stay sane. Remember, one cafecito at a time, relax if you can, and I'll talk to you soon. Ciao, ciao.
Vero, I am so happy to have you on. Thank you so much for being on.
Vero: No, gracias a ti. Thank you for having me on and inviting me onto this conversation. This is awesome.
Janny: I know you aren't seeing us, but she has some beautiful, floral paper flowers. They are so colorful. It's reminding me of having a fiesta.
Vero: We're actually in my craft room. In our "craft/office" area. The flowers that you see behind me, those are made by my mom. She loves to do anything with paper. Those happen to be from my daughter's second birthday. We saved them. We have them up, and they're part of our decoration now.
Janny: They're beautiful. They bring a lot of life to the room and to your background.
Vero: They do. They do.
Janny: So Vero, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Vero: Alright. I'm Vero. I'm a Chicana, born and raised in California, Bay Area to be more specific. I am first generation. My parents are from Jalisco, México. I am a wife, a mother of two nenes, Lunadaslan, who we call Luna, and Cali, who call Teo. Luna is actually weeks away from being four. I think two weeks away from being four. And Teocali is two and half. So beyond our home, my husband and I run our company, Fúchila Fresheners, and I have a blog, Nene Bilingüe, as you had mentioned, for parents raising bilingual children.
Janny: I didn't know that. Is that you that does the fresheners?
Janny: I didn't know that. I'm a huge fan. Oh, my God. I'm totally geeking out right now.
Vero: Yai! There you go.
Janny: You really have to check out these fresheners. They're awesome. So you run that business and you have the two little ones. How is it right now with quarantine, being at home?
Vero: Personally, I think that it's a learning curve for everybody. And it's a learning curve every single day. One day we're doing great. We're vibing. Everybody is doing their part. Then, another day, it's just kind of a slump. No nos dan ganas de hacer nada, or, oh, man, today we didn't get to do our family walk. You know we kind of get down on that. We try to do as much as we can together. We're very blessed that my husband gets to work from home. We eat three meals a day together. We have lots more conversations together. So I like that part. It kind of slows down the pace.
But, at the same time, I feel like we also are missing out a lot of the interaction, a lot of those connections that we have with family, with friends that we now can't do. It's for the betterment and so everybody is safe. But I feel like we are missing out on a lot.
Janny: Yeah, I think at the beginning, like for the first month, it was like, "Yai! Everything's great." We're all together. We're having all the meals together. The family time is wonderful. It's so wonderful. Now, we're at a point where, like you said, we're craving people interaction. Just the other day, we were walking by and somebody was having a "birthday party." I'm sure it was just like a few friends and family over. She just started crying all of a sudden. She just said, "Mom, I miss my friends. When is this virus going to be over?" It just broke my heart.
We try to be there for them. We try to do the best that we can for them, but we're human beings. We're creatures of social interaction, most of us, anyway. Taking that out of this equation, it really affects us all. I can't wait for this to be over.
Vero: We had a similar situation where I decided to go and surprise my in-laws with the children. They live on an orchard, so a lot of space. We got there, and we said "hi." We were happy to see them. We were there for, maybe, 15 minutes. We told our daughter and our son, "Okay, hay es hora de irnos. Ya diles adiós a tu abuelo y abuela." My daughter just started sobbing, like emotional sobbing. I was like, oh, my gosh. That's when it hit me that, yeah, it's hard for us as adults, but I feel like it's definitely harder for them, especially when they're used to seeing their grandparents, their tías or tíos, their friends. So it definitely is affecting them.
Janny: Vero, you mentioned that you have two kids. You have a daughter that's going to be four and a son that's going to be two—or that's two, I should say. How are you raising them to be bilingual?
Vero: We are actually using the model of minority language at home. So we speak, we read, we write, we learn, you name it, in Spanish while we're at home.
[Clip of Vero with her children]
Vero: Now, what I still feel interesting or that happens is that, between my husband and I, we tend to fall back on our English and we'll speak English between ourselves. However, with the children, it's all en español. Everything is Spanish for the children. In fact, both my children prefer speaking speaking Spanish. My oldest, Luna, she'll listen to my husband and I have a conversation in English, and she'll say, "Mami, papi, hablen en español."
Janny: Ah, I love that.
Vero: Usually, it's the other way around where us parents are telling them, "Oye, se habla español." But, nope, it's the other way around with my kids.
Janny: I love that. How awesome. Because, for them, that's their first language.
Vero: Yes, it is because we have strictly said Spanish only at home. Now, obviously, the goal is to raise them bilingually. Before this whole quarantine, stay-at-home, shelter-in-place went into effect, our English was coming in from gym class or story time, music class, playdates. So it was all interaction and peer-based. Now that all of that is out, I find myself kind of taking a little bit more and sprinkling a more English into our vocabulary and being very mindful as to when I do and how I do it.
Like I said, my children prefer Spanish. Obviously, that is our first language. That is our main language at home. However, I do find it that, now that we are at home more, that it's up to me to bring in that English to them.
Janny: Right now, what are some books or toys or apps or shows -- what are some things that you guys do or use at home that your kids really like right now, especially during this quarantine phase?
Vero: I'm lucky I have a little bookworm. Luna is definitely a reader. She loves to read.
Vero: Because of that, we have an extensive home library. We're very lucky and blessed to have that. But, right now, we're really enjoying the Usborne. The have Spanish titles, and a lot of their books are flip books. And they also have non-fiction topics, like dinosaurs, space, animals, that kind of stuff. They're super interesting for the kids. They're interactive, and we all learn something new.
At bedtime, right now, we've been reading a lot of Be Bold! Be Brave! and Fearless Trailblazers. So it's nice to have those simple, short biographies, yet not too simple. It kind of lends themselves to further conversation of who is this person? De donde es? What do they do? That kind of stuff. Our family personal favorite is -- I don't know of you've heard of this one -- El Pedo Mas Grande.
Janny: No. No.
Vero: It's a really funny book. It's in Spanish. It's about animals who decide to have a farting contest.
Janny: Yo escuche el pelo. And I was like, "What?"
Vero: Oh, no. Es el pedo. El Pedo Mas Grande.
Janny: My daughter would love that.
Vero: So there we are. We love reading it together, as a family. That one is definitely time for laughs.
Janny: Do you do TV or shows, anything like that?
Vero: I mean, aside from my son being super obsessed with Toy Story, and it's being played non-stop right now. Anything that they like to watch, whether it be a movie or a show, it usually comes from either Disney+ or from Netflix because they have the feature of changing the language, that comes easy, and I'll change it Spanish. Sometimes it'll start in English, and again, my daughter will say, "Mami, cámbiale a español, por favor."
Janny: I love that. I love that.
Vero: That's how we watch a lot of the children's television, through those apps and obviously changing it to Spanish. Of course, form time to time les digo, "This one only comes in English. I'm sorry." They're fine with it.
Janny: Very good. Anything else? Any toys?
Vero: Music. Music is a big part of our family. We love 123 Andrés. In fact, right now during this pandemic, their concerts are amazing. They're a Godsend. We definitely tune in to their Facebook Live. We like listening to Lucky Diaz and The Family Band, José-Luis Orozco, Mister G. They're all great bilingual music for children. And, of course, it's nice because I enjoy them too. Not to mention Canticos. The bilingual nursery rhymes. In addition to the nursery rhymes and the songs, they also have the videos and the lesson activity components.
We also have apps that go along with the Canticos. What I noticed that, with the apps, you not only get English and Spanish, but you also get all kinds of languages. The other day my daughter changed it to Hindi, and I'm like, "Okay, we're counting in Hindi." That's cool, alright. Something different.
Janny: That's very good because I'm always look for new ways to make it fun and interactive for her to make my daughter like it because, right now, she does prefer English. And because my husband is home all the time now because of quarantine, we are speaking more English as a family. For me, it's become even more of a struggle because, when her dad is traveling, en la casa solo se habla español. Yo le hablo a ella todo tiempo en español.
And now, because he's been home so much, yo le hablo en español, and she responds everything in English, everything in English. I'm always constantly looking for new way to keep her engaged and keep her wanting to learn. The Canticos app is a great tip.
Vero: Then, the apps are for specific songs, too. So you would download each of the apps. And then it's nice because it reads to you or you could read it. Your little one, she's already reading, right? She could definitely start reading from the app, itself.
Janny: Very good. Very good. Definitely one to download.
Vero: My last recommendation would be the Hola Amigo subscription box. That has been awesome, especially during these days when we're teachers, we're everything, and we have to fill our entire day with our children with activities that are engaging. It's amazing that they have the elementary and a pre-school box. Soon, they'll have a toddler box coming, too.
Janny: That's wonderful.
Vero: Those are definitely our go-to activities. It's academic, and that's, personally, what I like because I'm a teacher. And, of course, we're using our Spanish.
Janny: Very good. Are you a teacher, really? Yeah?
Janny: Oh, look at that!
Vero: Well, I've been out of the classroom since my first was born. However, to kind of keep me busy with teaching and lesson planning, I tutor local children, K through 12. Obviously, now, it's all through Zoom and stuff like that. But, yeah, I do K through 12, all the subjects.
Janny: That's like a true Latina woman. She's a mom. She's an entrepreneur. She's a teacher. She's doing it all. I love it. Una mujer con ganas. Vero, let's talk a little bit about Nene Bilingüe. What is Nene Bilingüe?
Vero: Nene Bilingüe is a blog for parents raising bilingual children. I started the blog about a year and half ago because I was constantly being asked how do I it, how do I raise bilingual children. I figured, why don't I just document it? If it helps me, it might help you. Or, better yet, start a conversation, share ideas, make connections, that kind of stuff. Just because our community needs that, right? We need that support from each other. Even if it is virtual, I see you and you see me. I feel like that's the helping hand for one another.
In the blog, I provide activities, whether it be ideas, tips, techniques to foster language learning while promoting parent-child bond. I feel like that is my primary purpose, the parent-child bond, things that you can do together. I am a teacher, like we had mentioned earlier, so many of my activities or ideas are academically inclined. They support language through literacy, math, science, art, that kind of stuff.
Lastly, I have a monthly publication. It's called Bilingüe Book Buddy. This is where I feature one bilingual book and three activities that go with the book. These activities are intended to be easy set-ups with things that you should have around the house. Again, they're academic. The materials, if you don't happen to have that certain sticker, can definitely adapt it to either your child's interest or you can adapt to the material that you do have available. It's fostering that language learning, but still doing it together as a family.
Janny: It's so important to continue that communication, that education element, that interaction with the kids because they are, as we spoke earlier, they're missing their friends. Having resources, having the blog, having somebody to guide us along the way is a big help. I'm a big proponent of supporting other moms, other businesses that help me because I'm like, "Okay, I need the help." I’m not a teacher. I'm not a teacher, but I need to become a teacher during this time. What can I do?
Obviously, que hable español is a big component for me. How are the ways that we can do it? What are the methods? What are the activities? What else can we do? I think it's just trial and error. We source, and we keep looking for all these things. We apply whatever works with our child.
Vero: That's exactly it. If it works, you use it. If it doesn't, you just toss it and move on. Because every home is such a unique makeup that we definitely want to make sure that our children are the ones who are leading us with their interests because, obviously, then you're turning into something where it's imposed on them. Then, they lose interest, and it's not fun. All of a sudden, you have a child who doesn't want to speak the target language.
Janny: Vero, what are some specific techniques for raising bilingual kids?
Vero: We'll talk about five. Let's start with the first. Be intentional and mindful. When I say "be mindful," be mindful of the quantity and the quality. Thinking of how much of your day are you using the target language? By quality, I don't know mean do I pronounce it correctly or how fluent am I. It's more of providing our children with a variety of opportunities, enhance a larger vocabulary, a more varied vocabulary in the target language.
For example, if you just use while prepping meals together, the vocabulary's very specific and very limited. You would want to be mindful and intentional to expand that a little. So maybe today it's prepping the meal in Spanish. Then at dinner time it's in English. At play time, after that, it's going to be back in Spanish. If you're a planner -- I tend to be more of a planner --
Janny: Me too.
Vero: -- then, maybe designating times of the day or specific locations where we speak the target language. Lastly, bring in friends and family. Surround yourself with friends who have similar bilingual goals and practice with them. Encourage them to speak to their children in Spanish while you are all doing a playdate together.
Of course, if you have family members who speak the language fluently, oh, my goodness, encourage them. Encourage your family members to speak to your children in that language. Not only are they getting the language practice, but they're getting that connection with the family members, which I feel like that's beyond important.
Janny: Absolutely. Right now, because of the times that we're in, we're FaceTiming a lot with our families. One thing that we started doing is that my daughter will FaceTime with her abuelos, they're down in Florida. They'll read to each other, or they'll play a game with each other. The other day they were playing telephone over FaceTime. It was really funny. We were all cracking up. We were all laughing.
I thought to myself, "Okay, this is something new for her. It's fun. Let me just roll with it and continue doing that." Like you said, giving them different opportunities to be exposed to the language and to use the language is great.
Vero: Right. Exactly. Of course, bringing your larger community into it because that makes it fun for them.
Janny: You start this journey of wanting to raise a bilingual child, know that you can't do this alone. It's very hard to do this alone.
Vero: Tip number two is go beyond the book. Obviously, all the studies show read to your children. It's important to read, read, read. Read in any language. Particularly, obviously, the minority language. As you read, make those connections to real life. Have your child connect. Find books that are representative of your family, your culture, your history. Try to come up with ways to take the theme of the book or the story and create something from it. Whether it be a game, an art project, an educational lesson, whatever it may be, but extend it beyond just what we read in the book.
For example, you can read Donde Esta el Coqui? Then you go outside, get some chalk, and practice recognizing numbers by drawing lily pads and numbers on them and then hopping around and counting. There we are. We took a book. We enjoyed the book. Then we're expanding it, extending it to our real life. So we're connecting to the book in more than one way.
Janny: That's what you do with your Bilingual Book Buddy?
Vero: Yes, Bilingual Book Buddy, that's exactly what it is. It's just taking the theme, taking an idea, and then applying something else to connect it to something academic, making it fun, and making it fun for the whole family to do.
Janny: I love that because, to be honest, you're taking the thinking out of it for us parents. You're like, "Here. Get this book. And, then, this is the activity that you can do that follows the book." I think that's fantastic. I love it. I can't wait to start.
Vero: Sure, you can go out and purchase the books. That's one way, but libraries are great. Right now, a lot of libraries are offering the online library system or online catalogues. So checking them out virtually, that's awesome, too. And YouTube, sometimes I've found a lot of authors doing their read-alouds. You can search the title. And, then, all of a sudden, the author's reading it to them. See, you don't even have to be the one reading it to them. You can listen to the author read-aloud and then go beyond that.
Janny: That's a great tip. That's a really good tip, especially now that some libraries are closed that you can't go check out the books. But you have all these other virtual resources. I think that's great.
Vero: Tip number three. Routine, routine, routine. Children thrive on routine. We all know that. I feel like adults do, too, and that's why we stay creature's of habit. It ties with the first tip, which is be intentional and be mindful. If you know to use the target language in a certain day, if your children knows that a certain day of the week we speak Spanish or a certain location I speak Spanish, they are already prepared and know the expectation. It'll probably make transitions smoother and not be pulling teeth and saying, "No, ahorita se habla español. Te acuerdas? Español, español, español."
Rather, if they're already training, they're like, "Okay, this is where we speak Spanish," or "this is who we speak Spanish to." This kind of reminds me of what you had said. Now that you're husband's around more, your daughter is speaking more English, and it's because of that. It's because of her routine. The routine was, dad's around, we speak English with him. That's what it is. Dad is around, so we speak English. That makes sense to her.
Janny: What you said about designating a specific time or place is very true. She's taking Spanish twice a week, and she knows that Thursdays at that time and then Saturdays at that time, she's in her mindset. Then, she cracks me up because with her teachers she's talking sin problema. And I'm like, "How come you don't talk to me like that?"
Vero: That's funny.
Janny: It is. It's a work in progress. It doesn't happen overnight. It think that that can be a misconception, like I worked on this for three years y ya habla español. Be persistent. Be persistent and consistent.
Vero: Yes, consistency. It definitely takes consistency on our part.
Janny: So we have be intentional, go beyond the book, routine. What's tip number four?
Vero: Number four is to incorporate academic language. What academic is is language and vocabulary used for success in an academic setting, so school. It's vocabulary very specific to topics. This is why many bilingual people, like myself, tend to prefer speaking English for formal conversations because "I feel more comfortable in English." It's because I feel like the vocabulary in the certain topic is better in one language over the other.
Now, so many books that we read about raising bilingual children they'll tell you that most likely to get "a true bilingual" that's 100 percent fluent in one and 100 fluent in another one is very rare. And it's very common to feel more comfortable in one versus the other. That's okay. But, if we start introducing that academic language at home, they'll have a better transition whether they are enrolled in a dual-immersion program or an English-only program. They'll have a better chance to understand that academic vocabulary once they go into school.
Things that I do at home, for example, we're writing letters. If we're practicing the letter writing, I'll say things like, "Okay, vamos hacer una línea vertical. Vamos hacer una curva hacia arriba. Una línea inclinada." So, instead of just staying more simple or a simplified version, I'll be very intentional in saying vertical or curva or inclinada just because I want her to use that to know it and to eventually use it. Now that we have done it so many times, she will tell me, "Oh, okay, es una curva grande. La letra C es una curva grande." That way, I know that she understands what it is and, at the same time, we're practicing what we want her to practice, letter formation.
Or we just finished a butterfly unit at home. We were able to grow our caterpillars, watch them go into the cocoon and, eventually, we let the butterflies free. But, when we were talking about the vocabulary, I was very intentional with using the word like oruga larva or capullo crisálida, and then connecting it to the English counter-part, from larvae, this is a chrysalis and showing them books and models and everything that incorporates this language.
Again, this is just making sure that we're using that language at home, that academic language that will help them with their success in school.
Janny: So it's a little more extensive, maybe more descriptive, a little more technical. Like you said, instead of saying a straight line, it's a vertical line. Or maybe you can say horizontal or at an angle. That's good. That's good for me because we definitely do a lot of reading, but our conversation is very every-day conversation. It's not as formal. It's a good reminder, and it's a good tip for us to kind of get a little bit out our comfort zone for their sake.
Vero: Because, that vocabulary, we don't necessarily use it, like you said. We use conversational Spanish. That specific vocabulary we don't use it, only when it's in particular situations. Us, teachers, we always used to talk about how do we make this connect with our English-language learners.
The last tip is grow your bilingual library, even on a budget --
Janny: Love that.
Vero: -- with books that you already own. If there are only English books or majority of them are only English, you, yourself, can translate them using a label. Type it out. Print it out, and stick it on there. This definitely saves us from cold translations. I know sometimes I'll do cold translations, and I'll get stuck on a word, and there I go, googling it, which is fine. You could do that. Me, being the way I am, I like to just leer corrido. The less times that I have to stop because I forgot a word in Spanish or I forgot a word in English, the better the flow is.
For this, I've used Google Translate. Now, if you know enough grammatical rules, then you know that Google's not always right. You can definitely correct the Google mistakes for the translation. Or, what I actually started doing more recently, was I had a book only in English. I went to the library to see do they have the Spanish version. I literally just went page by page, typed it out, stuck it on there. And I was like, "Now I have a bilingual book. Viola."
Janny: Honestly, it's something I never thought about doing. I have done where I'll pick up a book in English, looking at it, reading it English in my mind. I'm saying it in Spanish. Now, my daughter, she's like --
Vero: Eso no dice.
Janny: No. She's like, "En español. That's an English book." And I was like, "Yeah, but I'm reading it in Spanish." It's an amazing tip because saves you money. Not only that, but there are a lot of books that are not available in Spanish.
Vero: Very true. Our goal is to have a 100 percent library at home. Obviously, it's not going to happen overnight. Who has the time to sit down and translate every single book that they have? You know, if you translate one book a week or one book every two weeks, little by little, your library all of a sudden went from 20 book to 40 books because you have them in both language now.
Janny: What would you recommend would be a good starter library?
Vero: I feel like going into board books, the little ones, things like Lil' Libros, where they have one word. They have a large picture. It's nice and bright. It also helps with children who are just starting to learn incorporate Spanish.
Now, for my children, we're getting into a lot of the non-fiction. Interest in books about butterflies, books about dinosaurs, books about you name it. I feel like, for later on for older children, definitely incorporating some chapter books. Some of my personal favorites, these are definitely for, maybe, fourth and beyond, are The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez. It's an easy read, both in English and in Spanish. I personally like to read them over and over again as an adult. He has a whole series. It's a memoir of his life, of his migrant experience in life.
Obviously, making sure that you use books that are developmentally appropriate and, by far, focusing on their interests. If they're interested in a certain topic for that month or lately they've been really into dinosaurs, then find that dinosaur book. If they really want to learn about it, then let's read about dinosaurs. Sure. It all has to do with them leading it in your decision making in terms of purchasing those books.
Janny: Reading, reading, reading. I love books. I encourage reading. If I want something to pass down, it's my love of reading for her. Let her read and expand her knowledge. Any other tips? Anything else? These are the five big ones?
Vero: Those are the five big ones. Yes, those are the five big ones. Definitely, there's more tips everywhere, all the time. And, of course, we're learning from each other, so the list grows and grows and grows.
Janny: You have five tips in your pocket. Be intentional. Go beyond the book. Routine, routine, routine. Incorporate the academic language. And grow your bilingual library.
Vero, thank you so much. This has been very informative. We're going to talk about some tradiciones and one of my favorite parts of the podcast in a bit. Vero thank you so much.
We are back. I love tradiciones and talking about traditions. Vero, what are some of your family traditions growing up that you are trying to incorporate in your household?
Vero: Family traditions. I feel like the simplest is family get togethers, carne asada.
Vero: Let's go to tíos house. Let's go to abuelo's house. Let's go to somebody's house and just hang out. I feel like that's very important. Personally, now that I only have my in-laws that are close by, they live close by to us, incorporating them in whatever it is that we are doing. Right now, in this time of the pandemic, those carne asadas have dwindled down to a FaceTime call with tío and tía and abuelo y abuela. Those are the kinds of things that I hope to continue. That face to face is very important and very sacred.
Definitely religious activities. We're practicing Catholics. Doing things like we just celebrated Easter, para las pascuas. In fact, my mom would always dress us up and have our Easter Sunday dress and do all this kind of stuff. This year it was little bit toned down, but we still got dressed up, and we took pictures outside. We did our egg hunt. And, of course, we had our little eggs that inside was like an activity with huevitos. Each part was part of the story, the Resurrection story. Things like that that is incorporating our familia, our traditions, and our religion is very important to make sure that we are maintaining and continuing.
Janny: I love that. My husband's not very religious. I'm Catholic, and Easter's very important to me and is Christmas. For Easter, because we were home, I’m like, "No, no, no. We need to get dressed up." He's like what. I'm like, "I don't care if it's just three of us. We need to."
Vero: Para la foto. Para la foto.
Janny: We need to get dressed up. I need to go eat. And he's like, "It's just us three." I'm like, "I don't care. Leave me alone. Let me do this."
I love traditions, and it a show tradition that we ask every guest same round of questions. Vero, this is your round of questions.
Janny: Okay, Vero, what would you say is our biggest struggle as a mom?
Vero: I feel like this question goes hand in hand with what we're going through right now in this moment of the pandemic. It's, literally, missing our weekly routing before shelter-in-place. The computer or virtual lessons, story times, you name it, can not replace the value of social interaction and building relationships with other caring adults, with peers, and, not to mention, a little down time when it comes to those interactions with us. Because now I feel like I have to be planning every single second of the day, and mom's exhausted. I'm tired. I'm really missing it.
Janny: Yeah, it's hard.
Vero: We're creating our new routines and all, but I'm definitely missing our old routine.
Janny: It's harder. It's definitely harder to have a routine now because it is so far off from our normal. It's really hard right now to juggle everything, everything. I feel you. I feel you. What is a great piece of advise that you've ever gotten from another mom or your mom?
Vero: We've gotten advice all the time, right, if we ask for it or not?
Vero: I feel like the last piece of advice that really touched me was actually advice from a friend, a peer, another mom. She said, "Every day in your motherhood journey is a first." She was talking about like today I might be a mom of a two-year-old, 4-month-15-day-old. Tomorrow, I'm a mom of a two-year-old, 4-month-16-day-old. So every single experience is unique from one past.
Even though if you fee like, oh, my gosh. Otra vez. Otra vez. It actually is unique, and each interaction, each event, each situation is unique to both you and your child. Therefore, you're always learning. You're always learning from each other. Your child's always learning from you, and vise versa. And this goes on, whether you have a two-day old, whether you have a 16-year-old, or you have a 20-year-old. Your experience as a mom, in that moment, is a unique one.
I was like, oh, my gosh. That is so true. Even in those times that we feel like, ay dios mío. Otra vez. But, no, it's unique because that child has not been that age before, and we learn something or another from each other. What would the motherhood journey be without our children, right?
Janny: Right. It wouldn't be motherhood, right? Okay, finish this sentence. Growing up Latina, I --
Vero: Growing up Latina, I had a strict childhood. I consider myself to have been a pretty good child overall, a rule follower. I think I still am a rule follower. I feel like it wasn’t the limits or the no's or the chanclasos that made it that way. It was really inherent. I feel like my parents did a great job of instilling those specific values like respetar, la familia, la educación, you name it, that those extras, the going overboard, I don't think that is what shaped me. I think it was more of just modeling and the expectations. Pero, I do feel it was a little strict.
Janny: Me too. Me too, actually.
Vero: Tambien being a mujer, also plays a big role.
Janny: Oh, yeah. I have a brother. He was allowed to do whatever the heck he wanted to do. But, my sister and I, forget it. Forget it. Okay, what traditional Latino dish would you like to pass down to your kids and why?
Vero: Let's see. I would have to go with my favorite, pozole de puerco. I still don't have the recipe down. I'm still working on it myself. I do cherish all those times that my mom has been in the kitchen with me, my grandma has been in the kitchen or on the phone saying, "Okay, ahora ponle un poco de ajo," or whatever. I hope to have those experiences with my children once I get it down. I definitely want to have those experiences with my children. And, you know, hey, it's mom's favorite dish, so why not?
Janny: I love it. Love it. What Hispanic home remedy do you swear by?
Vero: Other than Vaporú everywhere? I think it's aloe vera. We grow it in our garden, so you can grow it anywhere, in your pot, whatever. Growing up, I remember it was everywhere in our house. It was outside. It was inside. It was everywhere. Now I still have it in our front yard. Our planters, they have aloe vera.
So my son falls or somebody gets hit, they get a bruise, they get a burn, whatever it is, we cut off a penca. We cut out the gooey part, and we slap it on their hand. We slap it even on their head. They get a chipote or whatnot, and then I rubbed it up in there. I don't know. It seems like it takes away the pain. It takes away the redness. It's like a little miracle.
Janny: It is. Absolutely. It's a miracle plant. It's funny because, when I lived inn our old apartment, I got burned or something. My mom is like, "Agarra la penca." And I'm like, "Mami, no tengo penca." She's like, "Ah, como que no tiene penca la casa?" She was like mortified, like what do you mean? What do you mean? So, now, I'm like okay, mom. Okay, I have penca now. Okay, Vero, what do you want your legacy to be?
Vero: My legacy. I feel like, my legacy, I hope to instill the love of learning for my children. You go through life. You go through the ups and downs. Just like my parents instilled in me that no one, no one can ever take away your education or what you know. No one can take that away from you. It goes with you until you die.
I feel like it goes beyond the classroom. So it's beyond the academic stuff. I want them to find their interests and be genuinely curious to learn something new. Nowadays it's so easy picking up your phone or whatnot, but I just want them to just learn for fun, know about things for fun, and fill your head with all these interests. I definitely want them to have the love of learning. I feel like I do, and I just hope that I'm being a good model of that every day.
Janny: I love that. I absolutely love that. I am a life-long learner, and I think that's a great lesson to teach and to pass down. Vero, thank you so much. Thank you so much for being on the show, for sharing your wisdom, for being so much fun.
Vero: No, gracias a ti. Thank you for having the space, the conversation, the learning, the connection. I feel like that is very important, especially in these days. So I want to thank you for having that space and having that time to do so.
Janny: Thank you. And where can our listeners connect with you?
Vero: They can connect on Instagram, @nene_bilingue, Facebook is Nene Billingüe, and my website is nenebilingue.com.
Janny: I am so excited to share with you that Vero has very graciously offered to share with you and with us 12 Bilingual Book Buddy newsletters. These newsletters contain a featured book along with 3 academic activities that you can do with the book. This is all free if you sign up for her newsletter. I will provide a link in the show notes as well as the website. Once you sign up, you're going to get 12 of these, one for each month. Then, after that, you'll get a newsletter every month.
If you don't take advantage of this, I don't know what to tell you because, first of all, we're in the pandemic. We all need the help we can get. I am totally subscribing. I already saw them. I was like, "Oh, my God, this is so brilliant." It's for us. It's for the kids. She's done all of the work, and I want to say all the work. She's done all of the work for us. It's basically, you read it. You print it. You get the book. You can order it online. As she said, there are many that are available for free, like on YouTube, that you can look at. And you can do these activities.
It's so important that we continue to stay connected with our kids. That we continue to do activities. Que les ensenamos el español. The value is beyond anything. Thank you so much for sharing with this with all of our listeners.
Vero: Yes, no problem. I hope that it helps every household, in one way or another.
Janny: Vero, thank you so much for being a part of the show. I can’t wait to get my hands on Book Buddies, on the Bilingual Book Buddy newsletter, and to continue to follow you. If you don't follow her on Instagram, please follow her. She has great tips. Her feed it awesome. Thank you so much, Vero.
Vero: Gracias a ti.
Janny: Do you feel more empowered about raising a bilingual child? Veronica's techniques, to be intentional, to go beyond the book, the importance of routine, routine, routine, incorporating academic language, and growing your bilingual library, even on a budget, gave us practical tips that we begin incorporating today in our daily lives. Remember, this journey takes effort on our part as parents. But our children will be the ones reaping the rewards.
Thank you for listening to another episode of The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast. For all of today's recommendations, including books, apps, and resources, check out the show notes or visit thelatinamomlegacy.com and click on today's episode. Como siempre, mil gracias. And if you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me on Instagram @milegasi. If you liked today's episode, feel free to share it, or you can leave a positive review. Reviews are a way the podcast can get visibility and empower other moms like you to connect, create, and carry on our Latinx heritage. Un beso, un abrazo, y hasta la próxima. Ciao, ciao.
What do you want your legacy to be?
[END OF RECORDING]
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|Width - A||Length - B|
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