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I would like our 3 year old to learn a second language fluently. What should we do?

My native language is Japanese and I am fluent in it, but my wife (who is an American) can only speak English. We want our kid to know both Japanese and English. But since we only speak English at home, it will not be very easy. Are there any suggestions for raising a bilingual child?

Seeking Opinion Child Development , How To 2 years ago

1 expert and 2 parents have answered

expert answer
Priya Desai expert
Priya Desai Speech and Language Therapist London, GB
Language expert

As a speech and language therapist, I work with many bilingual families.

The best way to bring up a child bilingually, is to be consistent in your language use.

Your child already has a good English language skills.

I would suggest enrolling your child in Japanese classes, and then allocating a specific and consistent time with your child, in which you both speak Japanese e.g. play time, bath time, a few hours at the weekend, on the way to school (whatever time works best for you!).

The most important thing is to be consistent, so your child knows what is expected; and whatever you do, don't mix languages in on sentence i.e. use Japanese and then insert an English word, as this will only be confusing for your child.

I hope this information helps!

3 Reply Share:
Experience 2 years ago
Iris Richardson
Iris Richardson Food photographer chef US

I have the same problem as a native German speaking. My husband has learned German for the last 11 years but we fall back to english as a default. We have taken our kids to weekend language classes since they are 4 years old. They do understand German well but still do not want to speak it.I also buy children videos where German is an option. I have to order them from Europe since here in the USA that language is not an option on DVDs. I have to make a point of only speaking German to them. It is not easy. The very best way is to take a very long vacation in Japan or have your child spend time with your Japanese family who only speaks Japanese. They pick up fast and will use the language if they believe that is the only form of communication the other person understand. As soon as they know a person understand english they will fall back to english.Another tip take posted notes and put them on furniture in your house with their Japanese meaning. I had friends who went to Ethiopia and they did this in order to teach their kids the language.

1 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 2 years ago
Ryan Cole
Ryan Cole Thinks it should all be fun. Prague, CZ

I think in this case the OPOL model would work well. Basically you speak only Japanese to your kids at home. I assume you don't live in Japan?

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 1 year ago

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