I'm Daniela, I'm Italian and I live in the south of Italy with my family.
My husband is American but bilingual because his parents are Italian emigrated to USA when they were children.
I have a degree in translation and interpreting (English and Spanish).
We have a wonderful boy, David. He is 15 months. We decided to speak only English with him because my parents and the rest of the community speak Italian.
My husband's sisters with their children live in Rome and his parents are 45 minutes by car, so we don't see them often.
Sometimes it's hard for me to stay consistent...especially when I'm angry or in a hurry, ehmmmm!!!
A few weeks ago David started kindergarten and the psychologist of the school told me to speak in Italian when we're at school, because she thinks that the baby could use English to create barrier with the others...I guess that the teachers feel cut out from the conversation, even though I always translate what I'm saying to David!
I'm happy to be part of this group, because sometimes I really need somebody to help me with all the doubts about bilingualism, and why not...a little support!
This is a good place to come with your questions and doubts. We've all been there, or still are, even though our individual situations vary. (For me, 45 minutes by car to visit family would be great. My family is 12 hours by car.)
I have a question about your situation at school: Do you stay there with David, or do you drop him off? Because if you just drop him off, I don't really see a reason why you should stop speaking English to him. If you stay longer, or all day, however, the situation would be different.
Daniela, welcome! It sounds like you and your family are off to a strong start on your bilingual journey! (I imagine it will eventually become trilingual, since you're proficient in Spanish, too.)
Since you and your husband are both using English with your son, the odds of success are very good. I don't know the details of the situation at the school, but you may want to discuss this with them to clearly convey your point of view. Because the basic conditions for bilingualism seem quite favorable, I don't expect this situation will be an obstacle, but it's true that you and your husband should strive to be as consistent as you realistically can about your use of English around David.
I send best wishes from Japan to Italy and look forward to hearing good news from you as time goes by!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
I was allowed to stay with him only for 1 hour the first three days (one month ago).
Now that he knows the teachers and his friends I simply drop him off in the morning, say goodbye, kiss him and go away (I speak English with him).
When I go back at 2:30 I ask the teachers how did the day go, and obviously while we're there together I say something to David (always in English). For example, I ask him if he ate or played...simple things, but when doing so I repeat the sentence in Italian so the teachers don't feel excluded.
Uff... I really don't know what to do.
I don't want to create problems with the teachers, but at the same time I don't think that the simple sentences I say to my son can bother them so much!
I can't see how speaking English to your son during that short a time could be harmful, but if the kindergarten people fear that it might, it could be a good idea to use the tactics that another "keeper" (I think it was Reina) uses when people comment about her speaking a foreign language in public with her children: She explains to them that she is speaking the minority language with her children so that they will be able to communicate with their grandparents, and might even ask them how they would feel if their grandchildren (this only works if the people she's talking to are grandparent-aged, for others, you'd have to adapt it accordingly) could not communicate with them.
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Amy: Right you are Mayken!
Mar 28, 2018 1:43:20 GMT 9
Marisa: Way to go, Mayken! That's the (bilingual) spirit
Mar 29, 2018 0:55:54 GMT 9
Kristin T.: Will check out your podcast interview on my next run!
Mar 30, 2018 23:24:37 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter brought home her ml report card (she gets a separate one from the regular report card at her bilingual school), and it's straight A's! (Better than her marks in ML on the main report card.) I'm so proud!!!
Mar 31, 2018 6:10:44 GMT 9
Amy: Gratuliere (Congratulations) Mayken!!
Mar 31, 2018 16:54:17 GMT 9
Mayken: Thank you, Amy! As a reward, we allowed her to purchase a big item from her Christmas money--a Playmobil house, with which she now plays in ml!
Apr 4, 2018 3:37:31 GMT 9
Amy: Reward all the way round . Bilingual education can be a virtuous circle
Apr 4, 2018 5:26:18 GMT 9
Nellie: What great news, Mayken!
Apr 5, 2018 4:36:26 GMT 9
Raquel: I totally missed this. Congratulations, Mayken!! You have reason to be proud
Apr 10, 2018 20:08:02 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks everyone! Today my daughter helped a classmate finish her ml homework just before school - all in ml. (My daughter had finished hers the day before at home.)
Apr 11, 2018 3:58:56 GMT 9
Raquel: I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's passing, Adam. She sounds like an amazing woman. Sending you a big hug from Madrid.
Apr 12, 2018 18:16:38 GMT 9
Marie: I am sorry to hear about your mother Adam. Thinking of you and your family.
Apr 13, 2018 4:25:21 GMT 9
Jana: What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your mother. Sending condolences from the SF Bay Area!
Apr 14, 2018 5:34:03 GMT 9
Kristin T.: I enjoyed reading your post about your mother. Those were some amazing photos to cherish forever. I am sorry for your loss. I know it's ever the more painful having been an expat so long. Take care & be kind to yourself.
Apr 16, 2018 2:24:35 GMT 9
Nellie: I'm so sorry to read about your mother Adam. She sounds like an incredible woman. Your friends across the world are thinking of you and your family!
Apr 17, 2018 0:50:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Thank you, everyone, for your warm expressions of sympathy on the loss of my mother. Your friendship and support has meant a lot to me at this challenging time.
Apr 17, 2018 7:44:14 GMT 9