You know the ancient African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child? Well, actress Dania Ramirez of the show "Devious Maids" is using her village to help her raise bilingual children. Ramirez is determined that her 1-year-old twins Gaia Jissel and John Aether grow up bilingual and she is enlisting the help of her family.
Ramirez and her adorable twins are blessed to be surrounded by Spanish-speakers. For example, Ramirez's cousin Yoli who is from Mexico has been helping her out with the twins from the get go and she only speaks in Spanish to the babies.
Ramirez is also using books to help develop her children's language skills. She says, "We just started reading them books in Spanish as well. Just trying to tell them all the stories in English and Spanish so they can be fluent." BRILLIANT! Bilingual books for children are such a great resource for parents looking for ways to expose their children to two languages at the same time.
As I mentioned, Ramirez's twins are only a year old, so it's not like they're reciting Pablo Neruda poetry or even speaking in both languages yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't thinking and processing in both languages. Ramirez is doing everything that she can to lay the bilingual groundwork and I have no doubt that those babies are learning. Children that young are amazing little sponges when it comes to languages.
At the moment, Ramirez believes that the twins are Spanish dominant because she has "everyone speaking to them in Spanish." Lucky them! I'm a little bit jealous because as a fellow mami trying to raise bilingual children what I wouldn't give to have them surrounded by Spanish-speaking relatives and friends?! It's so much harder when you are the only one in their life speaking to them in Spanish consistently.
Ramirez does express a little concern about her babies being taught both languages at such a young age, though. She says, "I do think they might be a little confused." I say, no, no, no, no. They aren't confused; they are taking it all in. Giving those children the gift of more than one language is something that they will thank you for later in life.