Raising bilingual kids

Raising bilingual kids
Raising bilingual kids

As I am busy having a baby I asked a few dear blog friends to help me out with some interesting posts for you… today Sophie will share her experience and wisdom about – Raising bilingual kids:

I’ve never imagined marrying a foreigner, especially not an Anglo-saxon man. My English wasn’t very good 12 years ago. My accent was quite bad and I was just very uncomfortable speaking English. Despite all of that, I married an British guy exactly 10 years ago this year and with him we have 3 kids. At home, we mainly speak English, even if we live in France. Television is English, stories are read in both languages, we swapped between the two languages. We also have au pairs coming for few months each to help out and they all speak 2 or 3 languages. Our house, even the cooking part, is rather international without having to travel the world.

We do visit my husband’s family in England very often. In fact, we go there for each school holiday. This way, the kids can spend some time with their grand-parents and their cousins but also learn about their second country and their second culture. Different food, different games, different habits, different shops or clothes. Everything is quite different there and makes them see how life is not just about their home country. Most of the time, I go there on my own with the kids, my husband can’t take that many holidays so I end up spending quite some time in a country that is not my own, driving on the left and eating jam on toast. I learned to like the UK and enjoy going there with the kids.

People here and there find the all bilingual thing absolutely great : “what a great luck for your kids to be able to speak two languages so young !”. I don’t think I’ve actually heard someone telling me how bad it could be for them. And of course, it can’t be bad. They can speak 2 languages fluently before even learning it at school. They get to travel. They discover games and songs we don’t have here. They actually learn that there is not only one way to do something but there are alternative ways to live. They are basically becoming open minded and curious about life. Well it might be a bit early to say for my boys (6 and 3) but I can definitely see this happening for my daughter (8).

But, and there is a but, growing up with 2 languages seems to come with a price. Despite what you can read or hear everywhere such as kids being able to learn everything naturally but it is not always that simple and that easy. There are confusion in vocabulary, in pronunciation, in building sentences… nothing major in our case, but it does demand some time, patience and efforts to make it work. My kids do need the help of a speech therapist. They get a bit lost sometimes when we go to England, understanding what is told but not being able yet to answer the way they want. I actually don’t know what they going through as I didn’t experience it myself, neither their dad. I got the chance to exchange on the subject with one of our au pair who was raised by her Serbian parents living in Canada and could explain to me how she felt. The subject is quite fascinating for those, who like us, live it on a daily basis. A good thing is that more and more researches are done and papers written on the subject. One of the latest interesting articles could interest you :

Bilingual children ‘show advantage’ in noisy classrooms.
Bilingual children ‘lag behind in English‘, research shows.


Of course, I am a very proud mummy and I just can’t wait to see how all those efforts they are making to fit in both countries will benefit them in 10, 20, 30 years time. I would love to hear your story, if you are also raising kids in 2 (or more !) languages !

Thank you Sophie! Always a super interesting topic… curious to see and hear your comments.


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