When we moved to the UK my first son Andrea, who was at that time fifteen months old, had just been starting speaking a few Italian words. I wondered how the best approach to a new language could be for him in that critic phase. I think there is no right or wrong answer, just as mums we need to follow our instinct and trust it. I read something on the matter however my approach was let it see how it goes.
Me and my partner decided to speak one language at home, our mother tongue and let Andrea learn the community or dominant language outside the house walls. Without knowing it, we adopted the so called “Minority Language at home Strategy”.
When I and Andrea started to go to playgroups I understood it was important for both to speak in English, for me to practice and for him to start to familiarize with the language. After a while we started some routines at home, for example reading some English books before going to bed or singing rhyme and songs that we learnt during the stay and play sessions and that Andrea really love (The wheels on the bus first of all).
Bilingual children have a greater sensitivity to language, a better ear for listening and the right phonetics education. I think that this is a big gift we are giving to our sons, especially when I think at my English level after so many years of studying and practice… There is also a deeper implication that I have to say I like in our expat life, that is the openness to other cultures and people from other countries. There are also some studies that show how bilingual children are better at problem solving (Article from The Indipendent )
Bilingual children start speaking later than monolingual children, however there is nothing to concern about.
Thanks for reading. I am waiting for you again here once in a while.