Posts: 619 Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): France Children, Ages: 5 and 2 year old girls Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): Spanish (ml1) & English (ml2) Member is Online
Your child is not “confused”. Children don’t start distinguishing the languages till around 3-4 years of age. My eldest daughter only did when she turned 4. Until then, like any child, they go for the easy way out of things (use their hands to eat instead of the cutlery for example); meaning that when it comes to languages they mix them to be able to communicate.
Yes, you can change strategy in the process. I did because OPOL did not work for us and we went for ml@home. My eldest was 4 and my youngest a couple of months old. We told my eldest daughter it was a new house rule, that everyone must abide by it and it went down pretty well (for the whole story if you are interested in the details, see my guest post at Bilingual Monkeys). This change of strategy saved our bilingual journey.
If you prefer speaking ml (Thai) to your son then do. He will pick up the English (ML) from the community and don’t worry: the ML is VERY powerful. He is bound to pick it up what with daycare, friends, etc.
Children tend to use the ML with you when they realise you speak it, they don't want to make the effort to use the ml (pragmatic little beings ). That was exactly the case with my eldest. I found that creating the ml@home rule helped to fight this off. She is expected to make the effort to use her mls and she knows it. In fact, a lot of parents meet the same issue: when the child starts school, they usually bring the ML home and start refusing to use the ml.
If you want to raise your children to be bilingual, I would strongly recommend that you read Adam's book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability; it has a chapter that discusses the results of a study with the success rate per strategy if that interests you.
Hope this helps.
Edited to add: Time and Place - Could be used to start introducing the use of the ml at home. Some families do it over meal times and get good results. In Nellie ’s case, it got her passive English-speaking daughter to use the language over meal times and eventually got her to use it out of meal times too (her daughter now uses her ml 95% of the time with Nellie).
Mixing languages - from my personal experience I would advise against it: 1. Kids need a clear rule to understand and follow. 2. When kids know you speak the ML they are not willing to make the effort to use the ml and will revert to the ML. So I’m a bit skeptical as to the result. But that’s only my opinion.
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Mayken: I'm wearing my language police hat today - when I realized the movie my daughter was watching on the phone was in ML I told her to stop. I later asked her dad to remove all ML content from the phone. Screentime is ml only!
Mar 27, 2018 23:00:03 GMT 9
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