I am a non-native English-speaking mom and have been raising my daughters in English for the past 7 years.
To answer your queries:
1. You can read just any picture book. I would say that the most important thing is that your child hears your voice. Remember that very small babies do not have very good eyesight. So it will not be the pictures that will really matter but more what she hears. So I think a picture book will be more appropriate language level-wise. If this is of any interest to you, newborns see better black-and-white pictures and shiny stuff (I got this from my pediatric physiotherapist who had me use black-and-white pictures and shiny objects to stimulate daily my small baby's use of her neck through having her following the picture or objects with her eyes and turning her neck -nb she was born with a neck problem).
2. As to gathering the baby related vocabulary, I strongly recommend the following things: a. That you subscribe to a parenting newsletter in English such as www.babycentre.co.uk/ and to visit the website regularly to read a few posts on babies so as to gather the vocabulary. b. Google something like "items to have for baby's arrival". See if you can find a list of all the things needed and pick up the vocabulary you don't have yet. c. If you are after something specific I would try and search it on an online baby shop (such as www.kids-room.com/en/ ) just as if you were about to purchase it. Immersing yourself in the English language as if it were your community language! This has definitely been my favorite technique to pick up baby related vocabulary. Fortunately for us, the English language is very pragmatic and things usually have a logical name, unlike for example in French.
I wish you all the best on this beautiful and bright journey opening before you. Please do not listen to all these guys telling you that a non-native cannot raise a child in a language other than as a her mother tongue. I have heard it time and time again. People laughed at me. But the minute my daughter began answering back in English the laughter died out, and the usual reaction nowadays is to be simply awestruck, seeing a 7-year-old or 4-year-old speaking English better than they do! A non-native can raise bilingual, never doubt it.
If you have any doubts or need any further tips please reach out to us, we will be happy to help.
As always when a new member joins, we suggest you open your own thread at the Track Your Progress board so that you can keep a kind of diary of your journey. It helps you feel accountable to yourself, you will get the support of the community whenever you have doubts as well as getting tips and suggestions.
Hugo, welcome! And warm congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your first child! (My daughter, my own first-born, is now nearly 16, but I can still vividly recall that very first moment I held her in my arms and spoke to her in English!)
About your questions, let me second Amy's good advice and and simply encourage you to build up your home library of English books (Sandra Boynton was an early favorite in our family) and read aloud to your daughter as much as you can while she's small. Because young children aren't able to engage in much conversation for the first couple of years--and this sometimes means parents aren't as talkative with the child as they should be--books are a guaranteed way of providing good language input. So my breakfast routine of reading aloud--which is still going strong today--didn't really become a routine until my kids were in preschool. Prior to that, I simply read to them often, throughout the day.
As I stress in my book (and I hope you enjoy it!), the most productive two actions, really, are talking a lot to the child and reading a lot to the child. And if you do this from birth, day after day, you're basically bound to succeed!
Hugo, I send my best bilingual wishes to your family and I look forward to following your daughter's progress!
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
Posts: 93 Country (residing now): US Country (originally from): Spain Children, Ages: Girl, born in March 2016 Majority Language: English Minority Language(s): Spanish, German, and hopefully French some day!
In addition to all the wonderful info that you got from Amy, I also wanted to say that when my daughter was born (btw, we live in the US, and I'm originally from Spain, so she's learning Spanish, my native language, and I'm also teaching her German (I'm only a low-intermediate German speaker on my best days), and some French (I can't speak it, but I'm doing my very best with the help of books, audios, and videos!)...anyway, when she was born, I had the exact same issue you mentioned in your post. Eric Carle's bear books were wonderful, especially the "Brown Bear" one, so I strongly suggest those. Eric Carle also has a sbook named "I see a song" with wonderful illustrations and no words, so it's perfect for you to 'improvise' and teach her about the colors, music, feelings the music/color inspire, etc.
With regards to baby's vocabulary, check out Nathalie Choux's books (she's the illustrator). I believe the books were originally written in French, but I do have copies in German and Spanish, and if you type "Nathalie Choux English" in Amazon, you'll find those same books in English. They're perfect for baby vocabulary.
My daughter loved the "Super Simple Songs" on YouTube. They're perfect for younger children (and very, very catchy, you're going to be singing those tunes forever, which can be slightly annoying sometimes, ha, ha!!). Before she was 2, I used to pick playlists from their YouTube page and would play the music on my computer (I was trying to avoid early exposure to screens...I failed miserably, but that's a different story. In any case, I'm sure your daughter will love those nursery rhymes!
My daughter loved the "Super Simple Songs" on YouTube. They're perfect for younger children (and very, very catchy, you're going to be singing those tunes forever, which can be slightly annoying sometimes, ha, ha!!). Before she was 2, I used to pick playlists from their YouTube page and would play the music on my computer (I was trying to avoid early exposure to screens... I failed miserably, but that's a different story . In any case, I'm sure your daughter will love those nursery rhymes!
If you want to limit screen-time, Super Simple Songs are available on Spotify.
Marisa: "Victory moment:" My almost 4-year-old daughter told me yesterday in the ml (rough translation): "mom, there's something wrong with the cartoons, can you fix it, please?"... she was accidentally watching TV in the ML! So I gladly obliged
Jan 18, 2020 4:15:02 GMT 9
Amy: Awww bless her, Marisa!!! That was so cute!! <3
Jan 18, 2020 5:25:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Marisa, give that little minority language lover a big hug from me!
Jan 18, 2020 8:04:49 GMT 9
Mayken: We're at Harry Potter Book Night at the English bookshop in Paris. The activities are all in French but my daughter teamed up for the treasure hunt with a girl who also speaks ouf ml German!
Feb 8, 2020 3:50:49 GMT 9
Amy: Was stunned to hear eldest had an anglophone (ml) accent when she began to read in the ML this afternoon!! Didn't last more than a paragraph until her brain switched language, but chuffed mum here!!
Mar 7, 2020 23:05:49 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter found the secret stash of ml books I'd bought at the closure sale of the ml book store two months ago and hidden away for later. Guess it's a good time for new books now, right?
Mar 18, 2020 5:29:38 GMT 9