How to Make Your Littles Bilingual

There’s a reason raising bilingual kids is so popular these days: kids that can speak multiple languages are shown to have both better focus and better comprehension, thanks to all the added activity in their prefrontal cortex, to use science speak. So when Susie Jaramillo, founder of Emmy-nominated Canticos—the number one bilingual preschool brand—had her first child, she was sorprendida (surprised) to discover there were no bilingual nursery rhyme books on the market. Literally, zilch.  “I went to look for fun, bilingual nursery rhyme books in English and Spanish that included the Latino nursery rhymes that I grew up with, and was stunned to find nothing like that existed,” she recalls. “This shocked me, especially as 1 out of 4 children under 10 in this country are Latino.” She created Canticos—a brand that features adorable characters and songs from all over the Spanish speaking world in books, digital apps, and sing-along videos—to make kids kindergarten-ready in two languages through play, by making learning fun. 

 

Since she’s now an expert on all things bilingual parenting, we chatted with her all about why raising bilingual kiddos is vital and how to do it, plus (of course!) a few of her favorite things, in any language.   

 

What are the benefits of bilingualism? 

There are so many cognitive benefits to being bilingual, including better executive functioning. Additionally, children are more set up for success in acquiring 21st century skills when they have more cultural awareness. Empathy and collaboration skills are improved when they are exposed to diverse people and places. Opening up children’s perspectives also supports creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. Learning both a new language and culture truly helps them become global citizens at a time where our world is more and more interconnected. 

What’s the best way to teach kids a new language? 

The art of introducing young children to a new language is to make it not feel like work, which is why we do it with music. For kids 0 - 4, I don’t think there is a better resource out there than the Canticos App and books. For older children, 6+, Duolingo is a great resource. Señor Wooly is also a great video resource for older kids. The videos are funny and the songs are catchy. 

Why does Canticos have such a strong focus on music? Any favorite songs? 

Music is such an easy way to build muscle memory when it comes to acquiring a second language. It also builds a child's confidence when they find they can sing it on their own. It builds community, too...like when that child realizes his grandmother or Spanish cousin also knows the song. We take some liberties with certain songs (Arroz Con Leche, one of my favorites, was due for an update!), adding fun learning concepts if they are not already built in. For example, we made Sol Solecito (Little Sunny Sunshine) a “Days of the Week” song with the intention of also teaching kids the difference between day and night, today and tomorrow, and of course the days of the week in two languages, while inspiring them to dream of the places they will go. I also love the De Colores song. It’s a classic Mexican Waltz that has a lot to love as-is in Spanish, but I specifically love what we did with it in English—we made it about the love that fills our hearts and makes everything so alive. 

Would you mind sharing some of your favorite products for raising bilingual children? 

Bilingual Nursery Rhymes Set are new Nursery Rhyme books that feature a unique magnetized reversible design and two of my favorite Songs: De Colores/All the Colors & Pin Pon. The Canticos Subscription App is truly the best way for preschoolers to learn Spanish and English while they play. Canticos Classics Book Set is the classic reversible book set illustrated by me, so they will always have a special place in my heart. 

 

Here, other finds Jaramillo Swears By:

Canticos Bilingual Reversible Book Set

This classic reversible book set illustrated by me, so they will always have a special place in my heart.

Chandelier Skirt – Aritzia

I totally love this skirt from Aritzia. You pull it on, slap on any top and you are good to go. It’s also comfy and incredibly slimming.

Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

My new favorite eyeliner is from Pat McGrath. It makes exactly the line you are trying to make with the precision you need without smudging or drying out prematurely.

La Pulquería by Fernando Róbles

One of my favorite books: An accordion fold series of Day of the Dead etchings by artist Fernando Robles. It’s a collector’s item, and if you love all things Mexican and Day of the Dead culture, it’s a must have!

Frida

My hands-down favorite Frida Kahlo book.

Stitcher

As an avid podcast listener, I also love Sticher – but if I had to recommend podcasts: This American Life, Radio Ambulante, and Reply All would be some of my favorites!

Bilingual Nursery Rhymes Set

These new Nursery Rhyme books feature a unique magnetized reversible design and two of my favorite Songs: De Colores/All the Colors & Pin Pon.

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster. What do you SwearBy?