I have 5.5yo twins. I am Polish, my husband is Australian, and we all live in Sydney. I always wanted to raise them speaking Polish but because my husband doesn't speak Polish I found it very hard. I do say a few things in Polish (like 'ready' , 'put your shoes on' etc). Whenever I try to just speak Polish they whine and don't make any effort to understand, even if I break it up in simple bits. Ultimately this effort to establish a routine fails and I am back to speaking English all the time. Any ideas how to start a sustainable routine with older kids that lasts? Thank you!!
Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): France Children, Ages: 4 and 1 year old girls Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): Spanish (ml1 - "dominant") and English (ml2 -"recessive")
I would suggest 2 core ideas: 1) Games and nursery rhymes in the ml – kids are playful and take great pleasure in learning through these means, and you will find that a lot of ml kindergartens do that. My daughter (4 – though I started earlier) picked up a huge amount through nursery rhymes (I got her her own CD player with her own nursery rhyme CDs). 2) Introduce your culture and language at home – it might be difficult to do it all the time when Daddy is around, but whenever you can and every time you are alone at home with your twins, listen to Polish radio online, Polish music, watch Polish channels (if you can get them online or telly), watch maybe Polish DVDS, organise Skype calls with Polish relatives. You give them the example to try and trigger their interest. Make them hear your language (and their heritage).
How do your twins communicate with their Polish grandparents and cousins? Could being able to communicate with them "easily" (through speaking the same language: Polish) be used as an incentive?
Hope this may point you in the right direction.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Laffi, welcome! Because your children are now a bit older, the process of nurturing their minority language is more like second language learning for monolingual children. In my view, the best way forward would be to establish a daily "Polish Time"--maybe just 20 minutes, at first--where you read aloud to them, sing to them, play games with them, etc. and you do all this in the target language, as much as you realistically can, so both you and your children can begin to make Polish a part of your daily routine, day after day. (Amy makes some useful suggestions that could be incorporated in this time.)
The key to success, though, is to make this "Polish Time" as fun and playful as possible so the children will find the experience engaging, not offputting. This daily "Polish Time" can then serve as the cornerstone for expanding your efforts in other ways, too. But the initial breakthrough, where you're able to sustain this new routine over time, depends on their engagement, their receptiveness. And that can only be earned through enjoyment of the experience itself.
In terms of books, since Polish children's books would probably be above their level, and thus not very fun, I would strongly recommend that you use wordless picture books instead. There are many of these colorful books out there and you can simply tell the story in Polish using simple language that they can understand.
Laffi, I also suggest that you begin a new thread about your commitment and efforts at the Track Your Progress board. For a recent example--and one that shares similarities with your situation--see Alice's thread.
Finally, this popular guest post by Tatyana may offer some additional food for thought about potential strategies. But again, the key is creating engagement and a fresh attitude toward the target language so this should serve as your highest priority for now.
I look forward to following your thread at the Track Your Progress board! With persistence and patience (and a lot of playfulness), you can experience growing success over the months and years ahead!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
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Adam Beck: Mayken, she'll be trilingual before you know it! (I recommend "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"!)
Jun 3, 2017 7:16:29 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, that was what I thought would be the easiest, but she disagreed!
Jun 4, 2017 18:43:54 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, the text of "Hop on Pop" may be easier to read, but I love the creative craziness of the "One Fish" book.
Jun 4, 2017 21:12:09 GMT 9
Mayken: My 6yo is off on a 5-day class trip in ML. I made sure the activity book for the trip and one of her reading books are in ml. Also, ml grandma will send her a letter, and she has a postcard she's to write to ml grandma.
Jun 5, 2017 23:16:12 GMT 9
Mayken: 6yo's teacher asked parents to write 2 letters, one the kids gets from the teacher today, the other we're to send by mail. I mailed my ml letter today.
Jun 7, 2017 0:25:14 GMT 9
Amy: My 1 year old is starting to talk and has been using 2 new ml1 words since last Sunday <3
Jun 8, 2017 5:27:04 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Amy, sounds like fun times for you both!
Jun 8, 2017 6:06:59 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay Amy! - I'm curious about the letter my 6-year-old wrote us during her class trip (teacher-supervised activity). Will there be ml in it? I hope it arrives before she comes back!
Jun 8, 2017 18:56:16 GMT 9
Joanna: My workshop is planned for Saturday, thanks for your replies...I'll post after. My daughter was singing along to our "theme song" so I have renewed hope
Jun 9, 2017 14:18:39 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter's letter from her class trip arrived - she wrote one message in ML to Dad and another in ml to me. Her first letter in ml without a ml person to help her!
Jun 11, 2017 18:40:08 GMT 9
Nellie: Congrats Mayken, Amy and Joanna!
Jun 12, 2017 10:12:42 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wonderful, Mayken! Those letters are instant keepsakes that I'm sure will be read again many years from now...
Jun 12, 2017 14:57:15 GMT 9
Amy: Joanna, how did Saturday go? Mayken, enjoy this beautiful keepsake
Jun 12, 2017 20:36:29 GMT 9
Joanna: It went really well! I'll make a good post soon with details
Jun 15, 2017 14:04:30 GMT 9
Amy: Looking forward to it Joanna!
Jun 16, 2017 1:39:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My mom got a lovely postcard in ml too from my 6-year-old daughter on her field trip! Another precious keepsake! (OK, I prepared the card with address and stamp ahead of time, but she did the writing all by herself.)
Jun 19, 2017 23:28:01 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW VIDEO AT BILINGUAL MONKEYS TV! Your Child Wants to Be Bilingualhttps://youtu.be/C2uQhIZPp80 (And please subscribe to my growing YouTube channel!)
Jun 21, 2017 8:49:35 GMT 9
Mayken: Our ml section will have a flea market stand at the school fair with used books, games, DVDs and CDs for sale. I donated 2 games, promised my daughter she could choose something. (Proceeds are for the school's ml section.) Love the idea!
Jun 22, 2017 23:23:00 GMT 9