in addition to Masch starting to stand and pull himself up on everything, it seems that Misch is now starting to understand not only that Mommy and Daddy speak a different gobble-dee-gook (ie language) from kindergarten, but also that he can distinguish and switch between the two!
Having arrived in kindergarten one morning last week he plunked his little derrière on the seat in front of his teacher, who was preparing breakfast, asking for 'Brot'. Before saying goodbye to his Dad, he turned around to him and translated for him 'bread'. Since then we have been indulging in much parental, obviously fully-objective praise for our little genius!
Staying with the topic of bilingual children, I also held my first talk last Friday for a group of parents interested in raising their children bilingually or multi-lingually at the 'Elternschule', a center funded by the city of Hamburg running all kinds of activities supporting young families: playgroups, pre-natal prep courses, etc.... and these talks!
So, there I was, having been asked the evening before whether I could step-in, with Misch, and parents from Russia, Turkey, Peru, Italy.... you name it, they were there. A big thanks to the manager of the center who had asked me to come and introduced the session.
We spent a great hour talking about my experience being raised bilingually, answering many questions, and telling how Hubby and I are raising Misch and Masch.
Here a few of the main points for those of you interested in the topic:
- giving your child the ability of bilingualism, or multilingualism, is a gift!! I have yet to meet a child who didn't feel that way.
- raising children bilingually (substitute multi-lingually here, if that fits you, from now on) is work. It does not just happen, even if you are your partner each speak different languages. It requires some effort, and dedication in making sure you speak a language that, for example, is not the one you speak with your partner, or you haven't spoken for a while, or is not your mother tongue, depending on what system your use. Which brings me nicely to the next point, and, I think, most important one:
- figure out a system that works for you and your family and stick with it!!! Be it speaking one language at home and learning another in kindergarten, or each parent speaking one language to the child/children, or any other variation you can come up with: make sure it is a system you are comfortable with and stick with it. Children are smart (!!) and will notice any wavering faster than you will, and take advantage. Who can blame them? Grown-ups like taking the easier route too.
Speaking from my own experience, you will be giving your child more than you can imagine!