Speak Spanish. Eat Candy.

Okay, so we're not quite at candy yet. But we have definitely started dabbling in bribery in raising a bilingual toddler.

I'll admit. It's not exactly how I imagined teaching our kids another language. I thought we'd stick flawlessly (ok, loosely) to the OPOL method and our daughter would soon be switching back and forth like a bilingual rockstar.

Ella has always been pretty vocal in resisting her bilingualism. She passionately told some friends, "I only speak one language." She held up her lone finger. "Uno." We laughed. She was not amused.

She has also stopped saying, "I can't hear you." Instead, she's replaced it with, "Say it English, Papi. I can't understand you."

But actually, bribery is working pretty well. (And I felt better when I read it on this list of educational strategies.) She has a behavioral chart that basically guides her life. Those stars are made of gold in her little mind.

So after I watched her video chatting with her abuelos, I knew need to once again up the ante on our Spanish. I offered her a star if she would stop complaining and listen to Billy read her two books in Spanish. Worked like a charm.

We're thinking about ways to incorporate bribery into other bilingual areas as well. I'd like to encourage her to speak in sentences in Spanish. She translates a lot or throws out a random vocabulary word. ("Say it, Mom. Tor..... tor... yes, tor... tuga! That means 'turtle' in Spanish.")

So that's where we're at on the bilingual kids front. I'm not sure if her active resistance is normal for this age. It's normal for Ella, so I don't feel worried. I am just always trying to figure out how to encourage her to listen more, say more, and practice more Spanish.

Have you ever bribed your kids?


  1. Mary B10:08 PM

    You know, it's not too much longer until hermanito needs to be taught both as well...maybe you can give her the job of teaching him!

  2. So true. I had a moment today that I thought he said "agua." It's about that time! :) Of course, he only really knows one word with absolute confidence: "ELLA!"

  3. Bwahahaha! Don't you know that bribery is a parent of toddlers best friend??? ;)


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