I don't have kids yet, so this question is just a daydream.
In the future, I would like to raise my children with two languages in the house but I wouldn't know how to. I know some people who have done this but they were not very helpful when I asked them. Can you Berries help me out with how to do it? I think it would be very helpful for the children when they are older, and a good world skill.
If any Berries out there raise their children bilingually/are planning too/know someone who does or if you have any advice it would be appreciated! Thank you.
I'm currently expecting my first child, but I can tell you what worked with my step son when he was a toddler. I started practicing words in English and Spanish with him. I would show him a picture and say the word describing it first in English, make him repeat it, and then in Spanish, making him repeat the word in Spanish again. I'm happy to say that he's in kindergarten and can hold a basic conversation in Spanish. We started about two years ago. It's really just about being consistant. Whether you're using visual aids, or just speaking in both languages. Babies/Children will pick it up pretty quickly either way.
We will be raising our daughter in a bilingual home. One set of grandparents speak English and one speak Polish, DH is bilingual. It'll be tricky for us at the beginning because we aren't both bilingual and he is used to speaking English with me at home, but if we want our children to be able to have a relationship with their whole family, it's necessary. Plus there are so many brain benefits of having a second language early on.
As far as the "how"...many families do the one parent/one language (in our case, she'd speak English with mom and Polish with dad). We may not be that strict, it'll likely be more English with mom, Polish with grandmother (who lives close and is planning to be quite involved with childcare during the week), and both with dad and see how it goes. I'm sure we'll learn plenty by trial and error with our first. Speaking purely from friends stories, bilingual kids sometimes take a little longer to start talking, but when they do, there's very little confusion, they pick up which words/sentence structures go with which language and which language goes with which family member remarkably well. We'll probably look into formal lessons later on just to hone grammar and balance out the English she'll get at school, but that's a ways off still.
Hope that's what you were looking for!
I plan to raise my children bilingual, however, I am not technically bilingual myself. I took Chinese in college. It was not offered in my elementary or high school system, unfortunately. So I consider myself proficient, but definitely not fluent.
My mom had originally tried. Apparently when I was 1, I could speak Chinese pretty well (she took me to Taiwan for 3 months while my dad was in the Navy). My dad, however, only spoke English and it became very hard for him to take care of me when he didn't know what I wanted. My mom would have to translate, so they chose to stick to English. (and didn't bother teaching my sister at all)
Another one of my friends, her parents are originally from Puerto Rico, so they spoke Spanish, but because their daughters were getting behind in school due to not being able to speak English as well as others, they switched to just speaking English. In the end my friend and her sister both took Spanish in High School and now College. She plans on raising her kids bilingual as well.
My mom's friend almost had a marriage fall apart because of raising her daughter bilingual. Their daughter was only supposed to speak English to her dad and Chinese to her mom. This is just not a great idea and the dad felt the daughter and mother were keeping secrets from him. They worked it out now, but that's something to keep in mind.
So basically from that, I've come to the conclusion that it's a very hard thing to do, especially if only one parent is bilingual and other is not. It's another stress on the marriage and the child. When should they speak one language over the other?
However, despite this, and as I said, I plan to raise my children bilingual. BUT, I live in an area where there are Chinese immersion programs and my intention is that they speak and learn Chinese at school, they come home and I'll help with homework and practice with them, but whenever Dad is involved, we will all speak English.
I also think a neat thing would be that if they did speak to me in Chinese saying that they wanted/needed something, I'd praise them, and then tell them to say it in English so dad knows and we'll make the decision together.
I don't have children yet, but we definitely want our children to be bilingual, it gives them much more opportunity in life.
Hi there! I don't have kids yet, but I would like my kids to potentially be multilingual. I am learning Mandarin so that my (future) half-Chinese kids can have more exposure to Mandarin, and hope to send our kids to French immersion so they'll learn French as well. (French immersion is quite common in this part of Canada.)
This site is great for tips on raising multilingual families: http://www.multilingualliving.com/ They have contributions from lots of parents who are trying in all different ways to raise their children bilingually. The most common way is called OPOL, one-parent, one-language, though some families find that can make it hard to feel like a family. It works best when both parents at least understand each others' languages so they don't have the problem catloverd mentioned above. Others try speaking one language in the morning, and another in the afternoon. From what I gather, the most important thing is to have a plan so you don't get lazy and skip the second language when it gets too hard. You can also try getting books, DVDs, etc. in the both languages, so you're not defaulting to the common language where you live.
I have not done this, but we have friends who are raising their daughter to be trilingual. The mom is French and the dad is Columbian. Sofia's mom speaks to her only in French, and her dad speaks to her only in Spanish. She goes to daycare where she is only spoken to in English. The daycare is also teaching her baby signs, and her mom told me that this seemed to really help her tie all three languages together. Sofia is one and a half now and has very few words, but some language delay is really normal for kids raised w. multiple languages. Sofia's mom told me that she did have to educate their doctor about this, b.c he was all concerned w. her lack of words at 18 months.
I have a friend who inadvertently did this also- they spoke only Punjabi at home and planned that their son would learn English when he started school. But then he picked up Spanish from their housekeeper as well.
The school that my son is districted for just turned into an immersion Spanish or Mandarin school. Some of our friends went to immersion schools like this and still speak the second language fluently, so this is something we may do in four or five years when he is old enough.
I grew up bilingual. My father spoke to me in English, my mother in Norwegian, and when we were all together we spoke Norwegian when we lived in France, English when we lived in Norway, and Norwegian when we lived in England. In addition to that we always spoke French on Saturday's, and Italian on Friday's (but this started when we were older). Clear rules as to who speaks what is essential, otherwise your child will be confused. You must be prepared that they most likely will start speaking later than other children.
What we are doing with Roo; I speak Norwegian to her when it's just the two of us. As a family we speak English, and boyfriend speaks English to her, but sometimes sings her lullabies and read night stories to her in Czech (he doesn't speak it fluently enough to teach it to her). The fascinating thing is how two languages connects the "wires" in your brain, it becomes much easier to learn new languages, children who's spoken or been talked to in two or more languages from they were small has a much easier time picking up languages as they get older (I was talked to in two-three when I was little, now I know 6 (7)).
The first thing I will say; don't speak to your child in a language you're not fluent in. And it needs to be very structured, otherwise your child will not understand, and the whole thing will be a waste.
I don't have kids, but I'm speaking from experiences with nieces and nephews. However you decide to do it, make sure you stick to rules. My niece would latch on to a word in either English or Spanish, then refuse to use the other word. She would get really confused- water was "agua" and there was no convincing her otherwise. We told her "agua" and "water" were the same thing, but she would have none of it. It got to be difficult if she was speaking with people who didn't understand the other language, because she just couldn't accept that there were two words for everything. Similar problems arose with my nephews. I think if you do your research and really stick to a system, you can probably minimize those kinds of problems. Raising a child bilingually is a great thing to do- I always wish my parents had been able to do it for me!
We have our plan mapped out. We have/intend on teaching basic sign language starting at 6 months, which apparently helps bridge languages later. I speak Spanish fluently, so I will mostly be speaking to the girls in Spanish and SO will speak to them in English. We will continue using sign language to help them associate the idea with both words. Example, 'milk' and 'leche' mean the same thing. SO practices his limited Spanish quite a bit also, so as they gets older, we'll all use both languages more freely.
When I was a baby, my mother didn't speak English yet, so she only spoke to me in Spanish, and my father spoke to me in English. So, naturally, I was able to differentiate between the languages and communicate equally with my spanish speaking relatives as well as the english speaking ones. As my mother learned English, she used it more in the household, but continued to mostly speak to us in Spanish. When I was 10, we lived in Mexico for 6 months and I attended an international school which helped solidify my bilingual-ness.
We also have plans to live abroad at some point in the future. I'm thinking Spain? :)
My husband speaks French to our daughter quite regularly. She hasn't completely grasped it yet, but its interesting to watch. He'll ask her a question in French, and she'll respond in English. So she clearly understands what he's saying, she just isn't capable of making sentences of her own yet. We'll continue this when our next baby arrives, we started this when Amelie was very young.
I also speak French but nowhere near as fluently as my husband, and we both learned different dialects, so we were getting confused. We decided I'd just stick to English to avoid confusing her.