Meet AK, new Kiddicare blogger, mum to toddler Finn and pregnant with her second baby. AK’s household is a bilingual one. She explains…
I remember arriving in the UK in 2005 to start my new Nanny Job. I was amazed by the nearly 4-year-old girl talking German with her dad and me and then switching over to fluent English with her mum, in a matter of minutes.
Is it even possible to teach a child 2 different languages at the same time, and for them to understand the difference?
Well, here I am 8 years later – having a 3-year-old Son myself and teaching him my mother language.
I am talking German to him at home and when we are out and about. His response is mainly in English, although with some German words muddled into the sentence.
I have some bilingual speaking toys for him to play with and for, his bedtime story, we read German books together. I have also started to collect DVDs & music CDs for when he gets older.
We have a few German friends with similar age children, who we have frequent play dates with. But visiting Family and Friends can be quite testing, at times, because I find myself in the situation where I say something to him in German and then have to translate for them to understand, so they don’t feel left out.
Then there is Mr. C. who has got a talent in picking up different languages very quickly but is struggling with learning to speak German, although can understand a fair bit. He always tells me he finds German quite a hard language to get to grips with.
My vague attempts in teaching him some German before our son came along were anything from post it notes all over our home (for him to learn the basic words like fridge, key, living room, kitchen, etc….) to buying him ‘Learning German in 3 simple Steps’ for his iPod, as well as some of the Usbourne Books for children, which are full of pictures to learn certain words.
Since we arrived back from our annual German Summer Holiday, visiting Oma & Opa, Mr. C. has started a new game where he asks Finn the German meaning of an English word i.e. Spoon = Löffel or Tree = Baum and so on.
This is a fun way for Finn to practice his German whilst at the same time teaching Mr. C.
Because we live in England this will always be his first language. But I am glad that I could teach him German for the last 3 years and I will continue to share my native tongue with him and our new arrival – due in February – because I think being brought up bilingual is a great gift to share with my children!