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My son is almost 23 months and we live in the UK. We practice the OPOL method- I speak czech only to him and my husband english. He also goes to english speaking nursery 3x a week. His favourite tv programs are also in English.
I thought that he was doing great in language development, he seems to understand most of what we say to him in both languages and says about 25 words some in both languages and some only in czech or only in english.
He is also hitting terrible twos, all this seemed fine and normal to me until this week we had some complaints from the nursery about his behaviour. The conclusion is that he gets frustrated as he says something to them in czech and he is not understood, hence he plays up. The nursery manager told me today that he is very delayed in his English and suggested that we use flash cards every day to improve his English. I think it is a great idea but feel stuck as his dad goes away on business a lot and I do not want to break our language system and start teching him english words instead of the czech, but obviously I want to help him so he can get on better in the nursery. I am also concerned about his czech as I am the only one who speaks it here as our relatives live very far, and recently all the new words he started saying are english words! Any comments or suggestions? Much appreciated.
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Hello (Ahoj) Veroniko,
Chtela jsem se zeptat co je OPOL method. Ja ziju us par let v USA. Manzel je american a ja ceska. Jsem momentalne v 5 mesici a chci aby nas syn mluvit anglicky a cesky. Mockrat dekuji. Anastasie
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First of all, don't worry. Our son (bi-lingual) started talking at the age of three. He was a late talker. It was two languages that made him a bit confused though there're a lot of children who do start talking without any delay even in bi-lingual families, boys do tend to be slower. I am from Estonia (though I am a Russian speaker) and I'm married to an Englishman (we've been married since 1999). We live in the UK predominantly but since our first child was born we started spending more time in Estonia with him. Basically, I speak Russian to my son and my husband speaks English to him. Together we speak English to each other. So, our main (first) language in our family is English. Our son started saying few words (separate words, not sentences) when he was about 2.3 months old (mainly in Russian) yet before that he was repeating other words he heard in Estonia (when we lived there). So, because of such a mix-up, he started talking later. First, they need to get to grips of two languages and separate them into which one is more important to them. Then they will start using predominantly the language they hear most. Late speech development in bi-lingual families is a norm (but not for all children). Just continue talking to your child every time you're performing any action (like washing-up, getting up, getting dressed), talk to him during play what toys are doing (describe each action like if you were a dubbing actor). Don't be afraid to talk a lot even if you don't have any reply back. Just read him books (a lot of books) before going to bed, during meals, quiet times, etc. Plenty of talk & conversation from your side - all you need to kickstart the speech. At the same time don't be pushy or demanding. Don't insist on child answering your particular question if a child doesn't want to reply. Patience and good luck! And tell them at the Nursery that bi-lingual children DO START TALKING LATER. They sound to me totally incompetent and only concerned about child's English development. How pathetic! Elena