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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello all,

I am Indonesian and mother a 12 months old boy, my husband is French, and we live in France. So far, we use the method OPOL naturally. I speak Indonesian to my boy, the father speaks to him in French, and I speak to my husband in French since he doesn't know Indonesian. I notice that my boy understands more Indonesian than French, I think it is because I am with him most of the time.

I would like to introduce English to my little boy. I know English pretty well. Actually, I started to sing English children songs when I was pregnant and still continue singing those songs. I also buy English children books and read to him. I also let him watch a couple of series from Disney channel. But I never talk to him in English. I would not mind to talk to him in English but I just don't know when? should I set up a specific time?

We live in a small town and there is no English daycare.
I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Reply with quote  #2 
I suggest that you buy some books in French, and read them to him as if they are in English.

"The Hungry Caterpillar" is a great book for 3 and up but since he's so small, you might start with just the basic vocabulary. Make it an interactive game. Play the "Where is your..." game.

Get together a group of his favorite toys and say "This is..."Monkey" this is "a cup" Introduce one word a day to him in English, use that word throughout the day when ever possible, without forcing it, every night, read the story in French, emphasizing certain english words also.

Play the "show mommy your (bodypart) game with him in English. Make faces and teach him emotions in English and French. Smiling is happy, frowning is sad, like that.

At this age, it is effortless to introduce him to language. Especially since you are near fluent in this langauge. You dont need a preschool. Buy him a toy that enforces English vocab and use English around the house slowly but surely. Start a small class for children in the area to teach English to them for a few hours a week. Your son will love to socialise with others even early on.

Also, since you're his primary caregiver and spend the most time with him, you can speak to him outright in English, repeat basic phrases over in English after saying them in Indonesian, after a few days of repeating, start saying those phrases to him in English only along with the daily English word.

He'l pick up a few 100 hundred words or so quickly, you'll see.

Reply with quote  #3 
"Buy a toy that enforces English vocab". I love that idea!!
Pinkan, You could buy a new toy which only 'understands' English. This new friend would become a reason to speak English around your little boy and would assist in helping him learn new words.
Thanks, I will try that myself,

English English
Child on the way
System not yet chosen

Reply with quote  #4 
I think it is great you are starting your son on English! My son was born in China, and started English (my native tongue), and French (the majority language here in Quebec, Canada) at 22 mos.

I don't do a particular method, but I do try to fit all the language in in a day. At first my mandarin was so minimal, I could just say short phrases to him: "mama loves you" "sit down" "go to sleep" "milk" "don't be afraid" "don't touch"

I started English and French when we came home to Canada, and I'd say the word several times in English and then in French. I speak mostly French outside the home with neighbors and English at home. I have been learning mandarin and found a woman who came from Beijing, to come to our home once a week to help me learn, and to speak to him. I also try to read out loud to him in English and French and chinese. In chinese, I started with a simple children's rhymes book: it had pinyin so I could read it out loud even if I didn't always understand!

One thing I found wonderful help was signing (American Sign Language) dvds for babies and preschoolers. I found it helped bridge languages. If he knew "shoes" I could just say "souliers" and make the hand sign for shoes and he'd understand the new word in different language.

As he gets older he becomes interested in colours, and learned English first, and I start to say also in French, and I learned in mandarin so could say that too. Now he is starting to be interested in numbers so we did games like "put the stuffed turtle on adult's head, count slowly to ten with him repeating every number, and then tilt head to make turtle fall off"... he found it hilarious and learned his chinese numbers 1-10 in about a half hour! So little games can help a lot.

Anyways, I am a single parent so I can't do one parent one language (besides we have 3 languages), and English is a minority language in our town, but not in North America, so it is sort of funny to do "native language at home" (though I mostly do), and I am a mandarin beginner (learning for about 2.5 yrs now) so can't speak it fluently...

We muddle along with no real method. I just try to have lots of input of all: visits with people who can speak the language, dvds, books, music, toys (ie fridge magnets with chinese characters, talking fridge magnet alphabet set that speaks french)... so he thinks of them all as "real languages" and "fun". He also pretends to "xie zi" (write chinese characters) when he sees me doing so... so I think just seeing mama reading or writing a language makes it "important" and interesting!

Best of luck!

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