I’ve always been a profesional when it comes to talking to myself out loud. No matter the needed volume level (whispering to myself is más discreet, ha!), I have found places to continue my self conversation while carrying on daily actividades.
Washing the dishes.
Making copias. (when alone in the copy room, of course!)
I have proceeded to creep out friends, family, and coworkers with these constant conversation abilities. Tico has checked on me more than once cuando he hears my whispered conversation while I’m folding clothes in our walk-in closet (Busted!). You know, he’s just checking on me.
Usualmente my self conversations were in English. And almost effortless.
Guapa was born.
Like I’ve mentioned before, my maternity leave tiempo with Guapa was a reality check in terms of my second language abilities. Me dí cuenta de que I needed to learn “kid language” so that I could engage with her on her level.
My self-conversations have since morphed into a mezclado de English and Spanish.
English when I think I’m alone. I’m repeating something that happened in English or I’m rehearsing an English conversation I need to have (Oh yes, my self talk has purposes específicos, lol).
Spanish when Guapa is around, which is basically all the time. (Except when I catch myself in a Spanglish moment, allowing English to creep into our interactions. Just keeping it real.)
Think about that for a second. My second language has become more important for me to not only know, but also to SPEAK. OUT LOUD. My daughter needs to HEAR español consistently, as often as posible. Tico works quite a few evenings every week, so it’s usually just Guapa and me after we get home from work/day care.
And so was born my language strategy of “narration”.
Whatever Guapa is doing, I narrate. Just like a narrator in a play or a book. I describe what she’s doing. I tell her where we’re going, what we’re going to do. I ask her questions about what she’s doing. I describe the colors and use lots of adjectives. I count how many steps we’ve climbed. I name all the things she’s playing with. I tell her about my day.
Yes, narration is a lot of mental work. I started small, just a few sentences at a time. As I’ve felt comfortable, I’ve started to narrate more and more throughout our time together. My second language is definitivamente growing stronger from this mental work. I do not narrate every moment of every day (can anyone say impossible?!); however, the more the better! It’s all about language development for Guapa.
It’s like my English self-conversations, but on Spanish steroids. I get in my daily number of required spoken words and she is immersed in her segundo lenguaje.
Of course, this type of daily life narration would boost any child’s vocabulary and language abilities, no matter if the child is exposed to one language or several languages! Try it out no matter your language situation!
Si claro, sometimes my brain is just done for the día, and I give myself permiso to take a break. Yup, in our humanness, we have to give ourselves permission to rest and sometimes resting means we stop talking to ourselves. Just for a little while.
And then get back to immersing our babies in language. Maybe via our own version of narration.