Hello. It has only been a couple of days since the au pair from France arrived. We prepared our daughter by telling her the au pair does not understand or speak a word of English, so she must use the French she knows to communicate. I would mention this to my daughter a few times to prepare her, but also mentioned how fun the au pair would be to play with, do art with etc. This has worked and my daughter is actually now speaking French for the first time in sentences and having conversations! She has only been learning French at her bilingual school from January, so a few months, so this is a big step in progress, as at school she would respond in English to anyone when they spoke French.
We never had an au pair and decided to test it out for the summer. We are super happy with our decision to get one for the summer. I would recommend it to anyone if you are looking to get more exposure, even if you do it only for a month. There are au pairs willing to do it short term. We have ours for about 2.5 months, but saw many were happy to do a month during the summer. I am hoping we get away with it for the whole summer, but I suspect my daughter might start to notice that me and my husband secretly speak to her in English when we are in the other room from them. We speak in low voices of course in the hopes they don't notice. They are still quite young so they do not pay close attention. But I am sure a lot of you would not have this language as you are able to communicate in your ml language. We only speak English at home and do not speak much French. I know the basics though, so am getting practice with the au pair as well. And luckily some of my friends and my sister know basic French, so when they meet the au pair, they speak the basic French they know.
Marie, I'm glad to hear this is already such a positive and productive experience for your family! I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy a lot of happy progress this summer!
While we were never able to have an au pair, we've tried to do the next best thing by serving as a homestay family for high school and college students who are visiting Hiroshima from abroad. To date, we've done this about a dozen times and, though these young people typically stay with us only a few days or so, our interactions in English (our minority language) are very fun and effective. So I can certainly imagine how powerful it would be to have a playful minority language speaker, like an au pair, stay with us for a month or more!
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.
Mayken: School starts again tomorrow. This year, exceptionally, 7yo will have all of her ml classes in 2 half days, instead of 1h/day. We'll see how that goes. (She's in 2nd grade.)
Sept 3, 2017 17:58:36 GMT 9
Amy: "Bonne rentrée" Mayken! Hope this new schedule will work well for your daughter though I have no doubt she will keep up her already excellent bilingual level
Sept 3, 2017 18:57:33 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks Amy! Bonne rentrée to you too! My daughter has ml on Tuesday mornings (tomorrow!) and Thursday afternoons.
Sept 5, 2017 5:39:39 GMT 9
Amy: First Wednesday at home magic: ml2 bathed home and catching my 5 year old singing along her music player in ml2.... Bilingual bliss! Only you fellow bilingual parents could understand this
Sept 6, 2017 21:05:46 GMT 9
Mayken: Planning to send my daughter to ml school again during the next holidays. But it's ok, she's looking forward to it!
Sept 8, 2017 4:45:12 GMT 9
Mayken: We had our parents meetings with the ml teacher, my daughter will have a lot of work this year! One parent asked "which kids actually do speak ml at home?" Does that mean many of them don't???
Sept 13, 2017 5:02:26 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - my daughter is a lot younger than yours (just starting PS), but in her class there are two children with Spanish-speaking parents, but apparently neither of them actually speak it...disappointing!
Sept 13, 2017 6:28:10 GMT 9
Amy: Nellie, these 2 kids might simply be passive bilinguals, and as you know the penny might simply drop one day and they'll start using Spanish...
Sept 13, 2017 17:05:33 GMT 9
Mayken: In our ml class the kids are required to have a high level of ml. In class they only speak ml (this year there's a penalty for speaking ML!). I assumed they all speak ml with the ml parent at home. (I've known those kids for 2 years.)
Sept 13, 2017 23:42:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Yes I'm sure you're right and they are passive bilinguals! And they are young. I certainly hope by your daughter's age that my little one will be speaking ml1 with me - have already seen a lot of progress over the last week! The penny is dropping!
Sept 14, 2017 5:51:52 GMT 9
Patricia: Has anyone encountered studies, or personal accounts, of bilingualism (or multilingualism) playing a role in delayed speech?
Sept 15, 2017 1:31:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Patricia, please complete your Profile (see my "welcome message" for guidance), then post your questions to the forum boards. Thank you.
Sept 15, 2017 6:14:15 GMT 9