What Christmas presents are your kids getting that will help them on their bilingual journey? Mine are getting books, books, and more books in English. (My French friend told her teenager that my kids get mostly books for Christmas... he said, "What a rip-off!" but my kids think it's a good thing.)
Some of the more notable ones they'll get this year: Calvin & Hobbes comic books, some Magic Tree House ones for the 6.5 year old (who has decreed he MUST have "chapter books"), "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator" and some Choose Your Own Adventure books for the 9 year old.
We didn't do any DVDs this year, though we have in years past, but my husband has been trying out Netflix now that it's come to France, and we can watch TV/movies in English there.
My boy is getting a customized book in ml and one ML book too. He got yesterday five ml books from one of my ml friends (She is a ml teacher and huge in books). I will wrap those books again and give him on Xmas day.
ml grandmom is visiting/staying with us for 2 months (I am overly excited). She is bringing more books, CDs and ml toys for him.
He is also getting animal magnets, hopefully to help increasing vocabulary (but my boy only says 4 words so far--keeping positive myself).
In Japan, which celebrates Christmas only superficially (in fact, it's a working day here), parents generally give their children only one gift.
However, because I grew up in the U.S., with happy memories of piles of presents, I've tried to re-create that experience for my own kids. At the same time, it's an excellent excuse to increase our resources in the minority language, materials that will match their current age, language level, and interests. (My wife has fortunately accepted this tradition of excess!)
Each year, books make up more than half the gifts. This year, for instance, there are about 20 books in total, of three kinds: fiction that I'll read aloud to them; nonfiction linked to their interests which I'm hoping they'll want to read on their own (like a book about soccer for my son); and graphic novels (comic books) that can also encourage independent reading. (See How Comic Books Can Give Your Kids Bilingual Super Powers.) Alisa, I'll be giving some collections of "Calvin & Hobbes," too!
These books are all in English, our minority language; I intentionally try to limit the number of new books they receive in Japanese. (They regularly bring home Japanese books from their school library.)
Beyond books, I also feed their exposure to English by giving them several new DVDs and CDs each year. Again, these are often connected to their interests in some way (like a DVD of "West Side Story" for my dance-happy daughter).
I add to our collection of games at Christmas, too (see, for example, Recommended Resources: Word Games in the Minority Language), but this year I also buckled to my son's request (which he made in his letter to Santa) and we got him a Japanese card game based on a popular animated TV show.
Although I know he'll be thrilled, I have to admit that I feel some misgivings when my actions promote their Japanese at the expense of their English. But, overall, I keep a solid emphasis on minority language resources--at Christmas and throughout the year--so I think (I hope!) that these other resources in the majority language won't undermine my efforts too much.
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).
No Christmas in Japan? Your poor kids! I know it's difficult, Adam, but maybe you could try one year to visit your family in the US for Christmas? Just once? I'd think that would be an important cultural experience.
In other news, my daughter has received 10 ml books, one ml CD and one ml DVD for Christmas. The DVD is her favourite movie which she watches over and over in ML.
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