AUSTIN - More and more families are putting in the work to teach their kids Spanish.
Research shows kids will retain a second language more easily if it’s taught before the age of three. Experts say bilingual kids are likely to gain cognitive advantages but for some, it’s about giving kids a glimpse into other worlds.
"That’s part of what I want to show my daughter is that there is a way into other cultures and it’s through language," said Mama Lingua co-founder Christia Madacsi Hoffman.
Mama Lingua is an app focused on helping families and children learn Spanish.
"The biggest challenge would be, for me, not being a native speaker and trying extra hard to provide the right language and vocabulary and a lot of different experiences for her," said Dripping Springs resident Alice Jansen.
Even those who grew up knowing Spanish admit forgetting it later on.
"Six years ago I wasn’t as fluent as I am today until I made that promise to my child that I was going to teach him Spanish and now I’m a lot more fluent because I’ve been proactive in learning my Spanish again," said Mama Lingua co-founder Aileen Passariello-McAleer.
Parents say the key is being consistent, encouraging and starting small.
"Using new words whether it’s just ‘agua’ or ‘tienes hambre’ or whatever the phrase or the word is. Start small and build on it and learn together," said Jansen.
After English and Spanish, Vietnamese is the third most common spoken language in Texas.