When my children have good teachers, I wish they could have them longer. But I'm glad my daughter's first French teacher did not stay on. Also, I'm glad she didn't ruin French for her! She was very strict, scary, and a lot of the children were scared of her. Thank goodness, she moved to a different section, so my son didn't end up getting her next. I'm so happy that this year my daughter has a French teacher she's happy with. Last year, the French teacher was slightly better, but not by much. At least her English teacher was great. It makes such a big difference if the children like their teacher. My son has an amazing French and English teacher. I still remember some of my teachers fondly.
I definitely agree that having to say things a zillion times is normal. I'm always asking my daughter to "listen", because she lives in her own world and she's always thinking of playing and running around. I don't know how many times a day I count to three -at some point, I stop repeating things and start counting, lol-.
I agree that it looks like your daughter is paying more attention during French week than during the English one because of the teacher.
In Spain children usually have the same teacher in nursery school (0-2), then again the same teacher at school from age 3 to 5, and from 6 on (primary school), a different teacher each year.
I think having to ask your daughter to do things many times is totally normal!
At my daughter's school they change teachers every two years in the early years at least, because they do English half the time and French the other half. So the same teacher spends half their time in one class and half in the class of the year above (or below). I didn't realise that in some places they keep the same teacher for many years!
I wish they kept the same teachers at least two years, as I think it would help benefit the weaker language (some children it would be English and some French). The teacher would know the language ability and the children would feel comfortable with the teacher. Every year the children need to get comfortable with the teacher again. My daughter always starts off shy, but at least after a month or two she is comfortable and opens up to the teachers. But I guess it also has its benefits, if one year the teacher is not great or does not mesh well with the class etc it's nice to switch the next year!
It’s been a while. Let’s start with our holiday skiing. The children had some French exposure, as when skiing in the afternoon the instructors spoke French and luckily all the kids spoke French. Instructors are also required to be able to speak English, but since all the other children were French speaking they stuck with French. Also, the chef in the house we were staying at was French speaking so my son spoke French to him a lot. Everyone got a surprise, as extended family heard how fluent he has become for the first time.
One mom told me the other day that her daughter was telling her my son is French, lol. It’s because he speaks French and hangs out with the French children, lol.
We finally got another live in au pair. We were sad when our other au pair moved out, but lucky she still watched the kids a few times a week. But happy to have another live-in, which means more exposure. So far it’s going well and I hope it continues. I hope she doesn’t mind reading 6+ books a day! My children quite like being read to in French because we found a series they like.
Thanks Raquel 😀 things are going well. The children are getting read to loads and they have a new favourite series Mini Loup. I have bought several books including books with CDs so they have been enjoying these a lot. We are looking into a beach holiday and someone suggested club med beach holiday and the location we want is a Spanish speaking country. But as my good luck would have it - the hotel staff mainly speak French and English, but mainly French. 😀 This is at the kids club as well! And apparently most of the kids are from France. How lucky is this for me?? But we're not sure we'll go. There is another option. It depends on where we can get flights and hotel, as it’s so last minute.
That is lucky, Marie!! Finding a hotel where the staff speak French (and English, so that you can speak to them too) while being in a country where neither language is spoken is fantastic!! I hope it works out for you guys. Going to the beach sounds wonderful right now.
It has been a while, so thought I would update. I feel we really need to up the French effort. I noticed my daughter seems to play in English now with her French friends. To be fair, if someone speaks in French she will also speak in French, but the other girls are now also choosing English! I knew this would eventually happen, as it tends to happen with the ML. My son still speaks in French with his French friends. However, today when we were talking about a French game he was saying "oh...but I won't understand..." That took me by surprise, as he seems to understand most French. We had a problem with our last au pair, so we are getting a new one. But she doesn't move in until May. I need to up my efforts in making sure the children are getting enough talking in French etc. Hopefully, in a few months I will have a more positive update.
It sounds like a simple setback, because of your last au pair. It's just over a month before the new one comes, and things go back to normal, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
That's a shame that your daughter's French friends are now choosing to speak English, but I guess it was to be expected. The good thing is she's still attending a bilingual school, so there's still lots of French in her life.
Regarding your son's comment, I wonder if it's just a matter or preference. My daughter sometimes claims she doesn't understand things that well in the ML, just because she's used to them in the ml and she doesn't want them in a different language. It may also be that in his mind his sister speaks French better than he does, so he thinks it'll be too difficult for him.
Don't be a stranger, Marie!! Hope to hear back from you soon.
Marie, it was nice to hear from you! Though your path right now may feel a bit bumpy, you and your kids have already traveled a great distance together on your bilingual journey and you'll no doubt continue progressing along well over the months and years ahead. Just keep at it, as best you can, and know that we're all here cheering for you!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular 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. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
Thanks Raquel and Adam Beck for the encouragement. On a positive note, my daughter had a play date on Friday with a French friend, a new friend she recently started hanging out with. They all played in English, but when the mother came to pick her up she started speaking in French to her daughter and straight away my children started speaking French to the friend and the mother. My son started speaking a string of sentences and the mom asked if their father was French or if I spoke French as well. She was amazed at his level so young with no French speaking parents. This made me feel proud and perhaps I should not give myself a hard time about feeling like there isn't much progress. One thing I need to do is try to get out of the house more and leave the new au pair with the children alone. I tend to be around, which then means less speaking French for the kids (as when I'm there they always ask me for things etc). They only speak French with the au pairs, but if I'm around, instead of asking the au pair for a snack in French, they will ask me in English. So I need to make an effort to be out of the house, perhaps go to the gym!
I love that plan, Marie!! "Oh, I'm going to the gym to help my children practice their French". I think I need an au pair too.
I think we sometimes are too hard on ourselves. It sounds like your children are doing great, but because you're used to it and your last au pair hasn't been as good as previous ones, you feel they haven't gotten to the point you expected them to. But they will, once the new au pair arrives, and they're already doing great as it is!
Marie, I think that multilingual development sort of ebbs and flows with kids, and this is particularly the case when the ml isn't really spoken by the parents with the kids, as is your case and also mine for ml2. We are responsible for fostering the ml but at the same time it is not our language of communication with the kids! When my daughter had a bit of a 'retreat' at one point in terms of ml2, I really doubled up on the input for a couple of weeks and it worked wonders. You are getting a new au pair in only a month, which will fly by very quickly, and in the meantime both kids are in bilingual school. So I don't think you need to worry. Maybe find some fun audiobooks and play those a bit, so that they have some extra input.
What are your holiday plans? That could also prove a great motivation for the kids (and parents)!
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Amy: Cute code switching this morning when my 3 year old told me "I get my pótamo" (she meant her hippo soft toy). This mixing was music to my ears... It means she is truly growing trilingual.
Apr 6, 2019 2:51:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Lovely, Amy! Good for you, and good for her! P.S. I like hippos.
Apr 7, 2019 10:32:37 GMT 9
Alba: So funny, Amy! Great to hear I love the word Hypo, every child says it different! My son did something similar when he say "This tocotó", he calls horses "tocotó" based on the noise they made when trotting (tocotó, iiii (neigh)-ok, for a Spanish ear)
Apr 8, 2019 6:52:09 GMT 9
Amy: Cheer Alba and Adam Beck! . I love these "baby" words. They are so cute. I like the "This tocotó" another example of state of the art Spanglish <3
Apr 9, 2019 4:54:05 GMT 9
Mayken: Got home from a short trip to Zürich - heard German, French & Italian on the train, and both German and French in the tram. And everyone speaks English too. It was nice to be able to choose which of my languages I wanted to speak!
May 6, 2019 23:07:42 GMT 9
Amy: Such a lovely feeling, isn't it? I miss that!
May 7, 2019 16:33:19 GMT 9
Mayken: It is, Amy . I didn't realise how much I had missed it.
May 7, 2019 23:10:43 GMT 9
Amy: Last year, a new colleague joined my team. She's trilingual in the same languages as me. It was like magic. We change languages and even code-switch several time a day. I had missed that so much!! My monolingual colleagues must think we're freaks! lol
May 8, 2019 4:56:12 GMT 9
Amy: Unfortunately, she has resigned and is leaving shortly. I was so proud to introduce her to my eldest, one day that I had brought her to show her round my office. And to introduce other bi/multilingual colleagues. Show how important languages are.
May 8, 2019 4:58:26 GMT 9
Mayken: That must have been wonderful, Amy! I'm sorry she is leaving. I would love to find someone like that. We had an English intern last year who spoke German and French. We chatted a lot.
May 8, 2019 6:06:01 GMT 9
Caro C.: Oh Amy I sort of feel related to what you are saying. Some months ago I made a friend from the US. She happens to be a neighbor with four kids. We’ve been sharing back and forth and I’d love my baby girl to eventually be able to share with her children
May 13, 2019 12:55:09 GMT 9
Caro C.: Although maybe they will be a bit old for her, still we (I mean their mom = Sarah and me) both are very happy and grateful for each other as friends.
May 13, 2019 12:57:05 GMT 9
Mayken: As of yesterday, I am aunt to a baby girl who lives in our ml country with 2 ml parents, and I'm already planning to get them a nice nursery rhymes CD for our first visit.
May 16, 2019 20:03:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice, Mayken! Have a happy visit!
May 17, 2019 9:10:21 GMT 9
Caro C.: OMG I just came across this song and it filled my heart with joy and excitement...perfect for all of us who are parents: youtu.be/g1fcnhB8GOY
May 19, 2019 14:01:55 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Caro, thanks for sharing that lovely song. Raffi was one of our very favorite musicians when my kids were small. We listened to him all the time. I highly recommend his albums as a source of very enjoyable and very effective English input.
May 20, 2019 15:32:26 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter is on a field trip this week and I feel like I've lost my main purpose
May 20, 2019 20:03:33 GMT 9