I am often asked how exactly we managed to let our girls grow up bilingual without a strict family language construct (where daddy can only speak English and mommy only German).
My answer: We talk a lot with the girls. Everything without compulsion. But always somehow in the game. And yes, we do what is often “forbidden” by language theory reading: we mix!
The majority of scientific opinions on language acquisition insist that one parent should speak his or her mother tongue to the child and the other should speak only his or her mother tongue. But often I find that this is not even possible, because the other parent is then excluded from the conversation between child and partner if he/she does not speak the language of the partner. I have always found this sad, because language and especially conversations are fluent and open concepts for me, which everyone can enter or leave as they wish, within the family.
So I often speak English with the girls in the USA when their American friends are around us and German when we are alone.
And anyway, even if your little ones don’t grow up bilingual: Have you ever tried talking to a 1-year-old? Exactly! Not so much comes back haha!
I once explained my coffee maker to Lily when she was two because I didn’t know what to say to her all day at home. And although I love coffee, I almost fell asleep and she didn’t find it so exciting now 😉
All scientific sources make it clear: SPEAK WITH YOUR CHILD! Because it is good for the child’s bonding and development. And for bilingual children anyway. But I often lacked the appropriate and fast-moving (because small children do not have the patience to stay with a topic for a long time) object for it. These cards are my first step towards solving this problem and towards the topic ‘bilingual interaction & play’ with children.