I'm a French native speaker living in Brooklyn, and my American wife and I and expecting for April. We're trying to set up our child for a successful bilingualism journey, and looking at strategies and stuff to put in place to provide the best environment.
With our respective jobs, we'll have the ability to WFH (Work From Home), even after the current world situation gets better.
We were wondering: Is it worth putting our child in a French daycare (starting at 3-4 months old) for a few days a week, that is really more expensive compare to a classic daycare (already expensive in Brooklyn!)? I feel that the 1st year, baby is mostly going to sleep / eat, and as we'll be WFH, I will be able to also take care and talk with baby. So the idea would be to put baby in a classic day care with ML for a few days a week (also closer from home), and introduce ml at home.
We do want to provide daycare/Pre-K later in French (and English if possible) a bit later, when baby will be able to communicate with other kids and have better routines (around 2, 2/5 yo).
You can spare yourself the first few months but do bear in mind that though your child does not speak yet (babies utter their first words roughly at 18 months though it can vary a lot from one child to another) he is absorbing everything he hears so he may later use it to speak.
Once your baby is here and starts seeing better (they are short sighted and see in black and white at birth apparently), observe him when you speak and you'll probably notice that he looks at your lips when you talk to him. Apparently all babies do, they are observing and later on will try to copy you to utter their first words which will come as sounds at first (Mamamamama for mama etc.).
So yes, the expensive and distant day care might not be indispensable at 4 months, and in fact you can do without it (we had our daughters with an ML nanny and they are trilingual). But it is always an extra help (and we need every little help on this bumpy journey) to expose your child to your language even if he is small. And do not think that because he is small he doesn't need the ml just yet. In fact, before 12 months a baby can learn any phoneme in the world, past that age their neuronal pathways start to narrow down and they lose that ability.
So yes, you can take care of your child instead of day care but 3 tips: - Make sure to put a lot of ml at home (ml music, ml telly, ml radio/podcasts...doesn't matter if it is not kids' stuff so long as he is immersed in the language). - Make sure to mingle with ml speakers as your child grows. - If mummy speaks ml (even if it's just basic), every little contribution she can make will emphasise the ml to your child (her ml does not have to be perfect, it is not language perfection you are after but support in emphasising the importance of the ml in your home ). Reading simple stories, putting ml music, singing ml nursery rhymes etc.
Hope I didn't freak you out too much with the scientific details. Yes I am a bit passionate about the topic!
Amy thank you so much! On the contrary, I'm looking for real inputs here, so it's really appreciated! I think we'll start the ml daycare after 1 year, because it could be a great deal in terms of saving and walking distance.
BUT, I'm really aware of all the efforts and environment we'll have to put in place during that year (and the year after). What I want to put in place so far: - Daily reading of a book/news in French (probably in the morning), just so baby can hear French for 20/30min - Walks with baby as much as we can, sometimes alone with me so I can point and "talk" to baby - Story time during naps/night time with baby books - Tummy time, with some songs, talks... (I worked in French "holidays" daycares when I was young (centre aéré), so I have some recollection) - Sometimes some French TV in the background (my wife LOVES Top Chef in French) - Frequent Facetimes with French uncle and grandparents - My wife takes some French classes, so the goal is for me to start talking to her more and more in French, at least for simple interactions.
The goal is to make that a routine, every single day...which IS the challenge, but planning that in advance, I hope we're setting up our family in the best way possible!
Azeem: Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, and I'm so glad to be here. I came across this forum reading Adam's book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability.
Jan 11, 2022 2:04:17 GMT 9
Azeem: I will be a father soonest, and I'm curious about nurturing my child's English and my local dialect 'Yoruba' speaking ability from the start. I live in Germany, where English is a minority language.
Jan 11, 2022 2:08:26 GMT 9
Azeem: I look forward to hearing personal experiences, tips, etc., on making the journey for me fascinating. Thanks.
Jan 11, 2022 2:10:28 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Azeem, welcome! We look forward to learning more about you and your family in your first post at the "Introduce Yourself" board.
Jan 12, 2022 16:18:19 GMT 9
Caro C.: We are expecting our second one... just found out last Thursday... I created a new thread to talk about the inquiries that start to arise on this subject... please visit: bilingualzoo.com/thread/1286/baby-2-oven
Jan 31, 2022 2:30:39 GMT 9