Hi, have any of you used an au pair to help with language progress. If yes, any tips? How helpful were they? We are getting a summer French au pair and hoping she can help the kids progress in French during the summer. My daughter started at French Bilingual School in January and my son will start in September. Her French teacher said she still has catching up to do, as the other kids have been there twice as long and most have French parents/parent. We do not speak French, but I am learning as she learns. I am sure she is learning more then me, but I am learning what I can (basic phrases and tons of vocab). Anyway, we have an au pair coming and I am hoping it will help encourage the kids to speak more French and feel more comfortable. My son isn't shy, but my daughter is a little shy speaking it. The au pair is aware we are having her so she can speak only French to the kids and in front of the kids. I said when the kids are asleep or not around I am happy to speak in English to her.
We have an au pair for the first time since August 2016. The impact on language was AMAZING. Some advice: have a very clear discussion about you wanting him/her to speak the ml. It is important that your kids code him/her as ml, and you create the "need." The system of speaking ML when kids are nowhere near is perfect. We did the same. If you can fold in singing music together, playing games in French, reading together in French, you should see a huge effect. Good luck...and enjoy!
Thanks so much, happy to hear its helped you a lot. We are hoping it helps. We definately plan on her reading to the kids in French a lot! And of course music, games. I am hoping we have a good experience so we can get an au pair for longer the next time.
We currently have a ml babysitter for our daughter every weekday afternoon from 3.30-6. We arranged for her to finish crèche at 3.30 for the express purpose of increasing her exposure to ml1, and it definitely helps - just hearing someone other than her parents speak in the ml means that it becomes more of a "legitimate" language in her mind, I think!
She does know that the babysitter speaks the ML, and she (my daughter) tends to speak a lot of the time to her (the babysitter) in ML, but we definitely notice that she also comes up with expressions in ml1 that she must have heard from the babysitter, so it is definitely helping!
I told my kids the au pair does not understand a word of English and I explained to the au pair that we are going to pretend she doesn't speak English. I hope this lasts so the kids can try to speak French as much as possible! Not sure it will work, but we will see. At least they will get a lot of exposure to French with the au pair living with us.
We have a German (ml) nanny for our 2.2 year old; I'm bilingual, her Dad is English only and we live in London.
It works brilliantly.
Small Girl knows that our nanny (who is awesome and we'd love her even if she wasn't ml) can speak ML, but nanny pretty much only speaks to her in ml. Small Girl is code-switching a lot at the moment ("No, not Erdbeeren!" "Go Spielplatz!") - she seems to be about 3-6 months behind in her German compared to her English, in that she seems to only have German nouns but the filler words in English. Supernanny takes her to German playgroups, has found a couple of other German-speaking nannies of kids of a similar age so they have German speaking playdates... in short - our bilingual journey would have stopped a long time ago if we hadn't made a conscious choice for our childcare provision (while I'm at work) to be ml-"only". Plus I get to play the fun game of "do you know what this is called? And do you know what [nanny] calls it?"
I've also got personal experience on the other side - my parents (bilingual but English preferred) had German au pairs for 5 years when my sister was little, and we all spoke German together in front of au pairs and English amongst ourselves; my German certainly benefited and my sister grew up nicely bilingual (until she started going to ML-only school and we didn't have au pairs any more).
My tips would be: - make sure you get someone you'd be comfortable with even if they weren't helping on the bilingual journey! - be really clear in terms of expectations of language use with the kids, not just conversation, but books, music, playgroups (?), playdates - if you can empower the au pair to help you with the bilingual journey, they may have some good ideas!
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Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Many thanks, Marisa! In my humble opinion, more bilingual kids = more empathy in the world = a more peaceful planet.
Oct 18, 2017 7:33:04 GMT 9