I've had several people ask me how Paco speaks Spanish so well. I'd like to outline what I do, as an English speaker with a 2nd grade Spanish ability.
I started this when Paco was a baby:
~ If the movie can be played in Spanish, it is. He doesn't get the liberty to listen to it in English if Spanish is an option.
~ Buy or check-out books that are in Spanish or bilingual. I don't buy books in English - everyone else takes care of that. If I get the boys a book, it's in Spanish or at least bilingual. Shop ebay for deals and a great selection on Spanish kid books.
~ Have Spanish music playing the car. Better yet, learn Spanish in the car while your kids are there. When they see you learning, they are more encouraged to learn it, too!
~ Learn all the words you can and say them for that object each time! For example:
water is ALWAYS agua
hair = pelo
milk = leche
bed = cama, etc.
~ Speak whatever Spanish you know and say it often. The more they hear the words, the more comfortable they will be speaking them! Don't worry about your accent, they will learn!!!
~ Have them around native Spanish speakers as often as you can - whether it's T.V., movies, Spanish radio, music, or books being read online in Spanish, let them hear it said correctly.
~ Find a mommy(daddy) and me Spanish class in your area.
~ Enroll in Spanish Immersion Preschool~
~ When you go to a Mexican restaraunt or store, ask the staff to speak in Spanish to your child. I do this at any business or bank. I ask the person, in Spanish, if they speak Spanish and then tell Paco to "Saludale in Espanol." Greet them in Spanish. It works!
These are just a few ways that you, as an English speaker, can teach your child another language. Whether it's Spanish, French, German.... the world wide web has made learning another language as simple as clicking our mouse.
It's not easy raising a bilingual child. English permeates every faucet of our existance. A huge effort has to be made to do this. The earlier you start the better! Check out Discovering Languages for more information.