What You Need To Know About Bilingual Language Development: FAQ

What You Need To Know About Bilingual Language Development: FAQ

Inside: FAQ on bilingual language development, on what’s normal and when to seek help from a speech pathologist. 

For today’s post, I’m welcoming Julie Perron from Speech Pathology Master’s Programs. Parents raising bilingual kids often have questions about what’s normal, and what’s not, in their kids’ speech development. Although this is a huge topic, here’s some insight into some of the top questions about bilingual language development.

 

Bilingual Language Development: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Learning two languages as a child can be helpful in many ways. Bilingualism can help children to communicate with more people in their family and community and can even lead to cognitive benefits. If you are teaching your child multiple languages or are thinking about doing so, you almost certainly have some questions about his or her language development. Here are answers to some common questions about bilingual parenting that you may have.

 

 

 

Is there a reason I shouldn’t teach my child to be bilingual?

 

Some parents worry that teaching their children multiple languages will confuse them or even lead to speech and language disorders, but this is not true! It is completely safe to teach your child multiple languages. In fact, some research even points to cognitive advantages among bilingual children, in addition to the benefit of knowing multiple languages itself! It is never too early to start teaching your child a second language- the earlier they start learning the sooner they will become proficient.

 

My child mixes his languages together at times, is this okay?

 

Using both languages in the same sentence, also known as codeswitching, is typical in bilingual language development. Codeswitching typically conforms to the grammatical structure of both of the languages being spoken and may occur into adolescence and adulthood as well. If your child is using codeswitching in a way that breaks grammatical constraints, they may have a communication disorder and you should get them evaluated by a speech-language pathologist.

 

 

Bilingual children will also mispronounce words or make other errors due to one language influencing the other. These errors are normal as long as they are mistakes and not a difficulty pronouncing a sound. If your child is having difficulty producing certain sounds, you should contact a speech pathologist.

 

I’m noticing that my child is silent during some conversations, should I be concerned?

 

When children learn a second language but are not yet confident using it, it is common for them to undergo what is called a silent period. During this period, children listen intently as others speak the second language. This is how they develop proficiency in the language at a time where they may understand it better than they can speak it. Silence is only a concern if a child is consistently not speaking in similar situations for over a month. This could be selective mutism- a condition where anxiety prevents a child from speaking. If you suspect that your child has selective mutism, you should have them evaluated.

 

How do I make sure my child continues to be able to use each of his or her learned languages?

 

To make sure that your child continues to be proficient in multiple languages, you must ensure that they have the opportunity to use each language regularly. If they stop speaking one of the languages, they will start to lose some of their ability to speak that language. Even as you are trying to get your child to proficiency in their second language, it is important to make sure you continue to use the primary language on a regular basis so they do not lose what they have learned.

SpeechPathologyMastersPrograms.com is a free resource that help students find information regarding master’s in speech pathology programs, and provides speech pathology information to families and communities. 

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Raising Bilingual Children: 5 Families Share Their Stories

Raising Bilingual Children: 5 Families Share Their Stories

Inside: Insights from multilingual families in raising bilingual kids. 

Parents face hundreds of decisions as they raise their kids, along the way. Multilingual families face even more options: One parent, one language? Minority language at home? Only ever answer the kids in Spanish? Keep it casual and let them speak what they wish?

These decisions weigh on us because they affect the fabric of everyday life. We want to set them up for future success, while creating strong bonds and a happy home life. Which way is best?

As I’ve gotten to know hundreds of families through my blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more than one path to multilingualism. 

That doesn’t mean every approach out there will work– most of us know of families who didn’t pass on a second language to their kids, even with two fluent parents. Raising bilingual children requires an intentionality and follow-through that isn’t always automatic.

Most families wil need to sit down and take into account all kinds of details: personalities, school options, community, extended family, and even the bond between parent and child will all affect each family’s plan. 

Because my own kids are still young, I hesitate to offer up too much advice just yet– we’re still getting started, really! So I reached out my Spanish Mama community on Facebook, and asked families with older children (or bilingual adults themselves) to share their experiences. It’s been fascinating and an absolute delight to read their stories!

For our first four interviews, I broke down their responses and am sharing them by section. The last interview, with Silvia, is in Spanish and flows so nicely I decided to keep it all together. You can get a peek into her family’s story at the end. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in for this peek into growing up bilingual, or raising bilingual kids. 

 

Meet our Multilingual Families

 

Spanish Mama: Please introduce yourself and your family!

Nikki: I live in Northern Virginia with my husband and my 3 children aged 7, 5, and 2.  I began teaching HS Spanish in 2002. I am currently mostly home with my young children but I do teach one Spanish class at the local community college.  That has been interesting and it has helped to keep me current with the ever changing pedagogy!

I grew up in a bilingual home.  My father was a peace corps volunteer in Costa Rica in the early 70’s and met my mother.  Their language of communication is Spanish.  My two siblings and I grew up hearing Spanish being spoken between our parents always.  In my case (middle child), I was always very hesitant to speak Spanish to anyone.  We would travel to Costa Rica nearly every year, and most family members thought I did not speak! I was very shy and reserved, but the wheels in my head were always turning.  Once I started studying Spanish in HS, it’s like it all clicked!  I begin to want to speak more and more. 18 years of Spanish saved up in my brain all came out! 

Nikki’s Bilingual Family

Evelyn: I’m Venezuelan but my mom is Colombian. I grew up in Caracas but my mom always emphasized the importance of English at home (she and my dad were both bilingual).  I learned English formally at school but with a great support at home.  I had books, music, and eventually TV available.  My daughter was born in Caracas in 2000 and we moved to the US in 2001, she was 14 months old.  In 2002 we had a son.

María Patricia: So I was born in Chile 1972, and my mom and I left to Canada in 1976 after the political climate took a turn for the worse, I spoke Spanish at home but quickly picked up English from the environment around me (friends, school, tv, radio etc…).  My husband and his family had the same experience, born in Chile raised in Canada, although we didn’t meet until we were in our teens, both our households were Spanish only at home.

Melanie: I live in a rural area in the Northern highlands of Peru. My daughter, husband and I have been here for 4 years—where we have a medicinal plant farm. We make natural health and skin products. Along with our farm and business I homeschool my child. Since relocating to South America, I have been learning Spanish along with my 2 native languages! I have recently begun to blog on my site Adaptivore about my experiences and would be honoured if you have a look. 

I am Canadian and I grew up in a French/English billingual home. In Montreal ‘Frenglish’ is a vibrant reality! My mother’s family are francophone and my father is anglophone. I was surrounded by both languages from the start. Although we did tend to favour speaking English as a family. It wasn’t until I attended a French catholic high school that I perfected my French accent.

 

 

Language Family Rules

 

Spanish Mama: What guidelines or rules did your family have for what languages to speak at home?

Nikki: My parents encouraged me simply by modeling.  They never forced me. I think they just realized that in my own time, I would see the value in it. And I certainly did. I cannot fail to mention the financial sacrifices they made for us to travel as a family to Costa Rica nearly every year of my childhood!  This is priceless. 

Evelyn: As a parent I always spoke Spanish to my kids since they were born, since I knew they would eventually pick up English when they started school.  One fun fact: my daughter would reply in English or Spanish depending on how people pronounced her name: Isabel.  When her brother was born, she spoke Spanish to him until he started preschool.  After a couple of months she figured out he understood English and switched.  However, they remained speaking Spanish to us. I don’t remember being strict about it but always consistent.  I read books, played music, and played videos in Spanish most of the time.  Sometimes I would rephrase something to help them express themselves. Notes and now text messages are always in Spanish. 

María Patricia: My mom while vacationing in Chile passed away after finally finishing her home there. Her plan was to travel back and forth to Canada, like “snowbird” travelers, avoiding winters. After her passing, we inherited her home and we decided to try our luck in Chile as my in-laws had moved back there permanently and our three children did not know them. At this point my oldest was 12 years old, followed by my 10 and 7 year old.  They did not speak Spanish at this point, understood some of it and had the “gringo” accent if they tried to speak it.

We told them – we were going on an adventure, to move to Chile see if we like it, that since they didn’t know Spanish, we would first arrive let them “acclimatize” themselves to the culture and started a Spanish only at home campaign for 6 months, as the school year was already on its way when we arrived and with only 3 months left of the school year we decided not to enroll them right away,   There was no pressure for them to learn or else type of situation.  It was a let see what happens type of situation.  6 months later they started school and it was amazing to see how quickly they picked up the language.   Their grades were great; although speaking it took longer their understanding of it was obvious due to their grades. 

We did not have rules really set up, just based on the direction our lives took, I basically now see how I arrived to Canada not knowing the language but adapting quickly and realise how my kids did the same but with Spanish. 11 years have now gone by; we reverted back to a mostly English speaking household, as it’s just easier for us.  

Melanie: There were no rules per say in our household in regards to language, however, there were family members and later friends that only spoke/understood one of the two languages. It was important for me to be able to communicate fluently. My biggest motivator as I mentioned above was high school, I had no desire to be the odd one out with an anglophone accent. Later moving to Peru, especially in a remote area, learning Spanish was a necessity for various reasons both personal as well as for our business!

 

 

Speaking Spanish as Teens

 

Spanish Mama: As your got older (or your children grew), how did you/they feel about speaking Spanish? Did your family’s expectations or language use shift?

Nikki: In my case (middle child), I was always very hesitant to speak Spanish to anyone.  We would travel to Costa Rica nearly every year, and most family members thought I did not speak! I was very shy and reserved, but the wheels in my head were always turning.  Once I started studying Spanish in HS, it’s like it all clicked!  I begin to want to speak more and more. 18 years of Spanish saved up in my brain all came out!  As I approached adolescence and realized that I had an advantage over my peers in Spanish class, I felt proud that my language skills were something that set me apart.

Evelyn: Both of my kids like being able to speak Spanish and I never perceived any embarrassment from them.   Actually, it was almost a “secret language” for us.  Keep in mind that we lived in the Boston area and after 2007 we moved to Albany NY.  When we traveled to a Spanish speaking country they wanted to be addressed in Spanish and did not like being perceived as “Americans”.  At school they have been both successful in languages.  My daughter graduated last year and took AP exams in English, Spanish, and French with top scores in all.  She’s currently a Freshman at Fordham University and plans to major in International studies.  She loves to talk to people from other cultures and plans to take more languages (Yes, I’m a proud mama).  She received awards as a Multicultural Achiever from SUNY Albany and was recognized as a Hispanic Scholar by the College Board.  In other words, all this bragging helps me prove that being bilingual was a benefit to her education and NEVER a handicap.

Melanie: My parents (my mother especially) were certainly pleased that I chose to study in French. There is undeniable pride in our roots and language is an integral part of that. I learnt later how much being bilingual was an important representation of my heritage. It was always made clear that the quest for fluency was my own choice and not forced upon me. I went from an Immersion program to a French program. I remember that my social circle expanded much more so than had I remained in Immersion. Studying advanced literature also gave me a vocabulary that enriched my ability to express myself.

 

Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids

 

Spanish Mama: What do you feel that you/your parents did well? Any tips for other families?

Nikki: My parents were CONSISTENT! As a parent now trying to raise 3 bilingual children in a language that is not my 1st, I give my father an enormous amount of credit for speaking in his second language for 40 years!   Although he did not speak to myself and my siblings in Spanish, the constant exposure from both him AND my mother were so integral in my siblings and me becoming bilingual.  I encourage other parents (including myself) to not give up.  I have thought about giving up every day for the past 7.5 years but I keep putting one foot in front of the other because I have reaped the benefits myself. 

Evelyn: My advice is to be consistent and not discouraged by people that say two languages are confusing.  Also, be firm when talking to your kids and make it clear since they’re little that Spanish is the language spoken at home.  Music, videos, and stories are also a great resource to keep it interesting.

María Patricia: I think the best advice for other family is to not pressure them, we tried to make it fun and in our case it was all an adventure.

Melanie: I think that in our household what worked well was that there was no pressure. My brother and I both found our own motivation to become perfectly billigual. Another positive was that I was exposed to media and culture in both languages daily: television, music, theater. Not just translations but native speakers. Both strategies I would recommend to support any language learner or parent thereof!!

 

Silvia’s Story: Persistence is the Key

 

Tuve la dicha de nacer y crecer en el bello país de Guatemala. Soy secretaria oficinista por profesión, pero una apasionada maestra de corazón. A los 23 años, el 29 de septiembre del 2004 la vida me trajo a Canadá junto a mi esposo Santiago, nuestro pequeño José Andrés y nuestra bebita Verónica con solo 3 semanas de edad. 17 meses mas tarde, nuestro pequeño Eric se nació en nuestra familia. Desde entonces nos llamamos thegingerich5.

 

Silvia’s Multilingual Family

Soy guatemalteca, ¡hablo español! Mi esposo también es guatemalteco, eso hace que nuestros hijos tengan sangre chapina corriendo por sus venas. Pero, ¿porqué entonces estoy escribiendo sobre no forzar el bello idioma español en nuestros hijos?

Mi esposo tenia 2 años cuando fue adoptado por una familia canadiense. A los 12 años de edad empezó el arduo trabajo de aprender su tercer idioma. El nació en una familia Kakchiquel en las frías montañas del altiplano guatemalteco. Su primer idioma fue Kakchiquel, después inglés y su tercer, español.

Mi esposo y yo nos conocimos en Guatemala, en un pequeño pueblo en el lejano y cálido Petén.  Él dominaba muy bien el español. Yo hablaba cero inglés. Desde el principio mi esposo y yo nos hemos comunicado en español. Entre su familia la lengua dominante ha sido el inglés (aunque todos hablan español por haber vivido en países de habla hispana todas sus vidas).

Tan pronto como nuestro primer hijo nació, mi esposo automáticamente empezó a comunicarse con él en su idioma natal, el inglés. ¿Y yo? ¡En español!

José Andrés tenía 22 meses cuando nos mudamos a Canadá. Su vocabulario tanto en inglés como en español era muy limitado. Las únicas palabras que decía eran agua, bye, mama, papa, y unos sonidos intraducibles para decir gracias y expresar otras necesidades.

La presión comenzó. “Háblenle solo español”, nos aconsejaban unos. “Llévenlo al pediatra”, decían otros.

Mi esposo y yo tratamos de hacer caso omiso a los consejos no deseados de nuestros amigos y vecinos y  continuamos comunicándonos entre nosotros en español, y a ellos en nuestro idioma natal.

Desde que nuestros hijos estaban en mi vientre, tuvimos el hábito de leerles tanto en español como en inglés. Nuestros hijos crecieron rodeados de libros en ambos idiomas. Cuando venimos a Canadá nos encontramos con una escasez de libros. Pero no hubo problema, yo me inventé las historias y ellos me rogaban por un cuento mas antes de dormir.

Nuestro hogar siempre ha estado envuelto con el sonido de bellas notas musicales tanto en inglés como en español. Desde el día de su nacimiento nuestros hijos han cerrado sus ojitos al sonido de música y el alarma cada mañana ha sido la música.

Tuve la dicha de preparar académicamente a nuestros hijos en casa antes de enviarlos  a la escuela por el resto de sus vidas. Por cuatro años, les enseñé lo básico como los números del 1-10, los colores, las formas y a colorear. Esas fueron pequeñas lecciones   muy importante para nosotros pero no nuestra prioridad. Sin saberlo y sin planearlo, en nuestro ser sabíamos que había algo más de alta prioridad que como padres queríamos asegurarnos de inculcarles a nuestros pequeños antes de que hablaran dos idiomas perfectamente o que se formaran académicamente en ambos idiomas.  Esa prioridad era los buenos modales, tanto en casa como en la sociedad. Atributos como comportamientos que muestran preocupación y respeto por los demás.  Con nuestro ejemplo, les inculcamos el valor de desarrollar empatía por otros.

Les enseñamos con nuestro ejemplo la importancia  de darle la bienvenida a personas de diferente razas en sus vidas y en el hogar. Nuestro grupo de amistades esta formada tanto por canadienses con cero español, como por latinos con cero inglés. Así también por  canadienses como latinos bilingües, y por aboriginales que aseguran les estamos mintiendo cuando les decimos que no pertenecemos a una de sus tribus!

 

Photo by Jeison Higuita on Unsplash

 

En Noviembre del 2012 llevamos a nuestra familia a Guatemala por tres meses.  Desde que salimos de Guatemala en el 2004, solo habíamos regresado a visitar dos veces por tres semanas cada visita.

Quisimos hacer este viaje por varias razones,  y una de ellas era para que nuestros hijos ( a estas alturas de 10, 8 y 6) experimentaran en carne propia la cultura de mi familia,  otra forma de vida y la importancia de hablar mas de un idioma, en nuestro caso el español.

Había mucha emoción, pero también mucho temor y preocupación en nuestros pequeños. Nuestro hijo menor no entendía porqué los guatemaltecos no aprenden inglés. ¡La vida sería mucho más fácil para él, decía!

En esa visita encontramos varias respuestas a nuestras preguntas y dudas. Mi esposo estaba completamente seguro que nuestros hijos poseian una cajita en sus cerebros marcada “Guardando para más tarde”. Esa teoría resultó ser verdadera en esos tres meses. Nuestros hijos no solamente se comunicaban con sus primos y nuestros vecinos, sino también ¡vendían golosinas y peleaban como todos en la vecindad!

El día de nuestra partida nuestros hijos lloraron amargamente todo el camino al aeropuerto. Algo había sucedido en esa cajita en sus cerebros. Un hilo en sus corazones había sido para siempre conectado con la cultura y el idioma que sus padres habían tratado de enseñarles y modelarles todos estos años.

Han pasado seis años desde esa experiencia. Nuestros hijos ahora son adolescentes. Hemos continuado haciendo lo que creemos es mejor para nuestros hijos;  rodeándolos de español tanto en casa como fuera de la misma.

Por muchos años he estado dando clases de español a individuos y familias que estarán viajando a países de habla hispana. Este año tengo el privilegio de compartir  clases de español en la escuela  dónde dos de nuestros hijos asisten. Me sorprendí cuando algunos de mis estudiantes en grado octavo, de los cuales mi hija es una de ellos, sabían varios saludos y palabras que les estaba introduciendo. Descubrí un secreto de mi hija: ¡desde primer grado ha tenido un club de español con algunas de sus amigas y ella ha sido la maestra!

No es sorpresa escuchar a nuestros hijos hablando español a toda hora del día no importando en donde nos encontremos. Las palabras y las frases salen libremente y como música llegan a alegrar los oídos de esta mama latina.

Si tuviera que hacer todo de nuevo, no cambiaría nada. Las estrategias han funcionado. Persistencia es la clave.

 

 

A huge THANK YOU to our families who contributed to this post! What a treat to get a peek into your family life and stories. 

Are you raising bilingual kids, or are a multilingual adult yourself? I would love to feature you in this series! Email me at spanishmamatpt@gmail.com for more information!

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Monolingual Parents, Bilingual Children: Tips for Success + Giveaway!

Monolingual Parents, Bilingual Children: Tips for Success + Giveaway!

Inside: Resources for monolingual parents raising bilingual kids.

 

Limited-time only: this post includes a giveaway you won’t want to miss! Make sure to enter by midnight, September 28th to win some amazing Spanish resources from Linguacious!

Raising multilingual kids is a big goal for any family, but especially daunting for monolingual parents wanting to raise bilingual kids. Most of my resources are geared to teachers, or parents who at least speak some Spanish. But is it possible, if they parents don’t speak Spanish themselves?

There are families doing just that! It is not easy, but here I’ve got some tips and amazing resources for parents in this situation. 

In today’s post, I’m writing with families in mind whose kids are learning a second language that is not the majority language. In other words, I’m not really writing to the Spanish-speaking family with kids who just moved to the U.S. In cases like that, your children will probably go to school and learn English beautifully. Your main focus will probably be keeping up Spanish at home, so they stay bilingual!

These specific tips are geared toward an English-speaking family in the US, for example, who would like their kids to learn Spanish. Read on for some great resources and help!

 

1. Learn Together, As a Family

 

Ideally, you’ll be learning alongside your kids. This shows your kids that you are truly invested in their bilingualism, and allows you to work the language into your daily family life. In fact, it’s probably the key factor as to whether your children reach higher levels of the new language.

Read up on how to teach yourself Spanish using free online resources to get started. You’ll make mistakes along the way (and maybe your kids will get to the point where they correct you!), but your willingness to make mistakes is a good lesson for them as well. I’ve also teamed up with Bilingual Kidspot to create a starter kit for families learning Spanish, and you can find specific steps and resources there. 

 

2. Get Organized

 

As with any major goal, the biggest obstacle is just making it happen! Take a whole weekend to make a plan. Research materials, order resources (see below!), look at your calendar, and think about your family dynamics. Go ahead and print some posters or plans and get a physical Spanish notebook going. Here are some questions to help you get going:

  • What is a realistic weekly time commitment?
  • What do your kids enjoy? (Books, games, sports, etc. How can you attach Spanish to these hobbies?)
  • What space in your home is the “gathering” space? Can you hang posters there or fill a basket with some games and books?
  • What is your budget? Can you invest in some materials or classes?

 

3. Gather Resources 

 

Don’t leave yourselves with any excuses! As monolingual parents, you will need to surround yourself with materials that provide the language for you. Here are some helpful things to already have on hand:

I always recommend games to families, because they are one of the most enjoyable ways to learn a language. However, they also involve speaking, which can be tricky for parents who are learning along with their kids. I just recently came across an amazing resource that solves this problem!

Linguacious flashcards, available in over 15 languages, were created by Ph.D. linguists and parents of bilingual children to support families learning together. They can be used for a variety of games and for all four language skills: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. The cards are sturdy for little hands and years of use, and use realistic photos for the images.

And the best part? They all include QR codes that work with the Linguacious App, so you can check for pronunciation on the spot, with examples from native speakers. Kids LOVE this feature, since they can scan the cards themselves!

 

 

If you’d like a set for your family, enter the giveaway below to win a Linguacious product of your choice! Linguacious also offers posters with QR codes, that you can set up around your house. Having visuals around really helps keeps Spanish continually present, not something you try for a week and give up. You can hang the poster in places that make sense for daily use, too, like a food poster in the kitchen or dining room. 

 

 

 

4. Look for Ways to Immerse Your Kids/Family

 

Hopefully, you will be able to take classes and/or find a tutor at some point. I also recommend looking for ways to immerse yourselves in Spanish, however possible. Not only will you learn more Spanish, but it’s incredibly motivating to continue in the language. 

Some families will be able to do something like vacationing in a Spanish-speaking country, or finding a language school. For others, it will need to be a local option. Here are some ideas:

  • Look for bilingual story hour at your local public library
  • Find opportunities to volunteer with Spanish speakers
  • Swap English lessons for Spanish lessons
  • Find a native speaker who will Skype with you once a week

 

Linguacious Cards Giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

All of the Linguacious sets are available on Amazon. Click on the image to see for yourself!

 

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Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

German Children’s Songs: A YouTube Playlist for Beginners

German Children’s Songs: A YouTube Playlist for Beginners

Inside: German children’s songs: some introductory German music on YouTube, for learners. 

 

Let’s state the obvious: I don’t speak German, or know much about it!. However, I am working on a world music collection for Multicultural Kid Blogs and got some suggestions for German songs from our MKB community. So I’m including their suggestions, as well as a few more, to help parents looking for German children’s songs.

If you are looking for other music collections, I have a post on songs in French for kids, and well as an extensive list of songs in Spanish for kids

 

German Children’s Songs

Special thanks to The European Mama and Erin at Large. If you have some more ideas to help me out, I would really appreciate it!

 

1. Fünf kleine Fische

 

 

2. Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider

 

 

3. Was müssen das für Bäume sein

 

 

4. Alle meine Entchen

 

 

5. ABCs in German

 

If you click on this song, you can also access songs for each letter of the alphabet. 

 

6. Numbers 1-10 in German

 

 

7. Day of the Week in German

 

 

8. Greetings Songs in German 

 

 

Some support for understanding the song above:

 

Did I miss one of your favorite German children’s songs? Please let me know in the comments!

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German Children's Songs

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

French Songs for Kids: A Playlist for Beginners

French Songs for Kids: A Playlist for Beginners

Inside: A collection of French songs for kids on YouTube. 

 

As we raise our two bilingual kids, I’ve always planned to introduce a third or even fourth language. While this has always been the goal, I’ve been pretty spotty on following through. My son is super interested in French, and my goal this fall is to be more consistent with that. 

always recommend songs for parents wanting to teach their kids Spanish. It’s the perfect way to pick up pronunciation, remember words, and hear language in context.

I created a huge collection of songs in Spanish for kids, but haven’t found something similar for French. So here goes step 1: creating a YouTube playlist! 

We don’t want to set our kids loose on YouTube, and I don’t want him just listening to random songs. Here’s my collection of what we’ll be using as we started!

 

French Songs for Kids on YouTube

 

1. French Greeting Songs

 

Greetings are a good place to start as we learn to introduce ourselves and say hello. I like “French Greetings Song for Children” (also introduces numbers) and “Bonjour, Bonjour.”

 

 

 

2. French Colors Song

 

This one is nice for just learning each color word:

 

3. French Numbers Song

 

We’ve definitely learned 1-10 after a few listens!

 

 

 

 

4. French Alphabet Songs

 

More lighthearted than most on this list, Yo no sé mañana speaks to the uncertainty of new love with an upbeat salsa tone.

 

 

 

5. French Songs to Learn About the Family

 

 

 

 

 

6. French Songs for Parts of the Body

 

 

 

 

7. French Folk Songs for Kids 

 

Frère Jacques

 

Au Clair de la Lune

 

Nous n’irons plus as bois

 

 

What would you add? I am NOT a French speaker, and would love to hear your suggestions! Let me know in the comments!

 

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Things Bilingual Moms Do In Public

Things Bilingual Moms Do In Public

Inside: Thing bilingual moms do.

 

Mothering is interesting. So full of sweet moments!.. and also full of moments in which we would clearly choose teleportation of the entire family as our superpower. 

Sometimes I think my kids save up those “special moments” for the grocery store, the playground, or the dinner table at somebody else’s house. We react and handle things as best we can, hoping it’s the right thing to do. 

And sometimes, multilingualism saves the day. What can I say? Being bilingual– especially when you live in a fairly monolingual place– does give us some extra options. 

You can’t assume who speaks what around you, but it’s confession time. Here are five things I’ve actually done as a bilingual mom. Dads probably do them too. 

 

 

1. Make dire threats in the minority language.

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Er… I mean, redirect. Some moms have to rely on that look; we can straight up say what we need to say in that grocery store line. 

 

2. Bribe our children in the minority language.

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Bribery is universally frowned upon in the parenting world, even though I’m pretty sure everybody does it. The good thing is we can get away with it.  Everybody around thinks we just repeated ourselves in a firm voice, and it magically worked. I’ll take it!

 

3. Redirect our kids in the majority language (for the benefit of other nearby parents). 

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Here’s a time to break out of the minority language: when your kids clearly need redirection, and you need all the other parents around to know you’re on it.

“Honey, let that little girl have a turn too,” exchange a smile with the mom across the playground, and you’re good to go.

 

4. Breathe a sigh of relief when our children say something rude(after realizing nobody understood it).

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Children say what they think: it’s a fact of life. It can also be horribly embarrassing. When my son once remarked that a nearby man looked like a wolf, I just prayed that the gentleman was monolingual and took the chance to quietly explain why he has to be careful saying things like that. The fact that is was said in English (and hopefully not understood) helped me play it cool and make the most of that teachable moment. 

 

5. Translate the positive…

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My three-year-old speaks whatever language she wants, in the moment. Did she just say something polite and adorable? Well, allow me to translate that for you. 

 

…and lie about the negative. 

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OH MY GOSH you CANNOT say that out loud.”
He loves it. Thank you sooo much.”
Don’t judge me but yes, yes, yes I’ve done this one.

 

6. Say sappy things to our kids without embarrassing them.

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Kids too embarrassed to show affection in front of their friends? No problem if they’re bilingual. You can sneak in all the mushy-gushy things you want as you drop them off at school. And maybe you’ll get that “love you mom” back, even when they’re “too old” to say it. 

 

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love being a Spanglish family. Of course, Spanish and English are widely spoken languages, and I should probably get going on a third, more obscure language, if I want to use of these “strategies” more effectively. #goals

 

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Things Bilingual Moms Do

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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