Our Bilingual Week
Welcome to Week Four of Bilingual Children! I've been really busy last month collecting feedback from other Bilingual Mums. So throughout February I will be sharing all of their challenges, different approaches and reasons for helping their children learn a second or multiple languages.
As I'm regularly receiving emails from mums about the hurdles they are facing I thought we would start with challenges! It's very easy to think you are the only one experiencing an issue. I hope you'll find that you can identify with at least one of the comments below and realise we are not alone in the little barriers we are trying to overcome!
"Now my daughter is almost four and speaks both English and Spanish, both are her native languages. English is the minority language, since we live in Mexico and I'm the only native English speaker in our household. It's pretty amazing to hear her speak both languages at such a young age, and to translate between them! Problems I faced at the beginning were the occasional comments and criticisms from my mother-in-law. "There's no point speaking English to her while she's a baby, she won't understand you until she's about 4 or 5!" And things like "Why don't you speak some Spanish to her sometimes if you're in Mexico", etc.. Now the main problem is that we often don't understand her as she still can't pronounce a lot of phonemes. I wonder what challenges the future will bring!" Ruth: Mummyandthemexicans.com Instagram: @mummy_and_the_mexicans
"From a native perspective, we are a single language family (English) but my husband is fluent in French and I am fluent in Spanish. For a long time I assumed I would end up back in South America where I lived when I was 18 and 21 so it would have stood to reason that my kids would have grown up bilingual. That never happened and as a native English speaker, I find it all too easy to slip back into what comes more naturally. I especially feel self conscious when other people are around and I am trying to speak Spanish to the kids. For a long time my eldest would get really angry with me for speaking to him in Spanish so it became even more difficult! I refuse to give up though, so although I'm resigned to them not being bilingual, we still play games to help them learn easy vocabulary such as colours, numbers and parts of the body. It helps that they've suddenly got into Latin music after hearing me listen to some and with the rise to fame of Despacito! One day I know they will thank me for persevering...." Emma Wanderlustandwetwipes.com Instagram: @wanderlustandwetwipes
"My Other Half speaks Spanish to the children and I speak English. The children cope wonderfully, but I get frustrated at my own lack of Spanish. Definitely something I need to work on if I don’t want to miss out on conversations as they get older". Victoria Starlightandstories.com Instagram: @starlight_and_stories
"I've tried (I'm Hungarian) and I've failed. My husband is English and my son was super late to talk so at one point I switched to English to make it easier for him. Now he only speaks English and doesn't understand his grandparents. With my second child I'm trying to talk in my mother language and I hope that my boy would pick it up too". Eva Captainbobcat.com Instagram: @captainbobcatblog
"It was very important to us that they speak two languages. What never occurred to us until 6 months ago was the issues we would encounter due to us not speaking the language too! My husband and I speak English and a minute amount of Greek but Greek is our kids first language as they have gone to Greek playschool since before their first birthdays". Susan Youaremysunshinecyprus
"I’m Danish and try to raise my son bilingually. Having lived in the UK for over 8 years I do find it hard to be consistent as I’m so used to speaking English, especially when others are around. It’s easier when we go back to Denmark for visits where I’ve noticed he picks it up quicker". Nadia ScandiMummy.com Instagram: @scandimummy
"My boy is (or at least we are aiming for this) trilingual! I’m Lithuanian and my husband is Italian. We both would like to teach him our respective languages but we end up mostly using English. He was a late speaker, so we wanted to concentrate on onelanguage but we now are teaching him new words of our languages.. It’s a challenge, but we’ll keep trying. Raimonda's blog is launching soon: www.cosmomum.co.uk In the meantime you can find her here: @raimonda_days
"I'm half Turkish but never learned how to speak it so I'm really keen on my little girl learning. We also now live in Wales and have sent her to welsh school... I'm worried about homework once that starts coming but I'm hoping I'll learn at her pace and it'll all be okay". Ayse Arepops.com Instagram: @areandpops
Buon Mercoledi - Happy Wednesday!
I hope you enjoyed these honest insights into raising bilingual children. It's not easy and takes more work than some people expect. This can create a feeling of pressure from others and from what we place on ourselves. Hopefully hearing from other mums puts things into perspective. Please comment below and let us know if you've found this useful or add your own observations!
Have you found our Bilingual Resources page yet? We've scoured the internet to find you bilingual products in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
Pop back next week to read about how our Bilingual Mums have different approaches to language learning.