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My mother language is Portuguese. We live in the USA. Due to some special circumstances (related to the adoption of my older daughter) I was unable to speak to my 2yo in Portuguese. She now speaks only English. I have now a 2mo baby. And I want to switch to speaking with them only in Portuguese, but not sure how to go about it (as my 2yo obviously know I speak English, and she wont understand anything. I stil have 3 weeks of maternity leave before going back to work and need ideas to jump start the process. Thank you
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no one has any idea?
Reply with quote #3
I was surprised nobody had answered to your question yet. I'm new to the bilingual parent thing, as my little one is only two. So maybe I'm not the best one to give ideas. I am from Belgium, so being raised multilingual isn't anything new to me, I grew up with it. I do believe that the key is being persistent. There is no English at my house. Even if my American friends are around, I apologize in advance for the "jibber jabber" and communicate with my son in Dutch only. As I thought people would be offended, it turned out to be not true at all. My close friends think it's just absolutely fascinating. Only in public, with complete strangers, do I speak English to my son. My little one wasn't talking yet up until recently. I had been talking Dutch to him since the beginning, and it all seemed a waste of time. We went to Belgium for 3 weeks two months ago and I emerged him in a language bath. He hasn't stopped talking since. It left quite the impression on him. Especially the zoo, the train and plane trip. Things and food that he absolutely loves. I also noticed he picked up words from other two year olds faster than with adults. The trick is to find other Portuguese children, huh? Maybe, to ease into it, you could create a situation with your oldest, you KNOW she would love. Whether it is the playground, the swimming pool, or just going for an ice cream. You can ease her into the vocabulary that way. Try to speak as little English as possible. If she is enjoying herself, she is going to talk about it. Don't be discouraged if she doesn't repeat your words right away, it might take a couple of mother-daughter trips. You have to repeat ALOT. And don't be scared she'll be confused. She'll be used to momma speaking Portuguese in no time. It will probably be more difficult for you than for her. It might become a moment once a day, where you can emerge her in Portuguese. And you can go from there. Add different situations after time, where you can switch to Portuguese. Maybe bathtime next or bedtime,...Until you have somewhat switched over. It has to become habitual, and as kids cling to routine, they will have no problem with it. My child holds reading at bedtime very dear. I've noticed rhymebooks are excellent to make him remember words. I read somewhere on this site your child has to be exposed to a language 30 percent of her time for it to be effective. Since I only speak one language at my house, I can imagine it to be difficult to switch back and forth. Especially when you have a partner to think about AND are working. Dinner time, might not be an option for you as you don't want to isolate anybody. That trip for me was the best jumpstart ever. But I understand that can't just happen with anybody. And as every child is different, I can only go off of what I experience with mine. I hope this might help a little bit. Make it your own! You can do it. Persistence, routine and repetition.