Bilingual Parenting

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved listening to toddlers learn to talk, and trying to guess at what they’re saying!  At the beginning it’s like this secret language between the parents and child, because no one else understands them yet.  But imagine if your child is learning TWO different language at once!  All the sudden you have to expand your options when you’re guessing what word they might be saying…  I have to be honest, sometimes I forget that there’s a good chance the word Piper is emphatically telling me might just be in French, and that’s why I can’t figure it out (and sometimes I can’t figure it out because, well, she’s one and it’s just not clear enough yet!)  She has an incredible vocabulary for a one year old, and has rather “grown up” conversations with us, and on top of that- she has them in English AND in French!  It’s adorable, and I’m so impressed with her!  Bilingual parenting is tons of fun, and yes it does have its challenges too, but they’re completely worth the effort!
We’re off to France this week, and in the spirit of the upcoming trip, I thought I’d share some of our motivations for raising our kids bilingual!  Most of you know that my husband is French.  (I know!  How lucky am I?! 😉  We met 6 years ago, married 4 years ago, and now we have two adorable babies who are growing up with two first languages.  Why?  Well for us, the main motivation is pretty easy- because their dad is French.  They have grandparents in France, aunts, uncles and cousins in France, and an entire heritage their that I don’t want them to miss out on just because we live on this side of the ocean.  Given that Guillaume is French, bilingual parenting tends to be easier for us than most, and it’s hugely helped by the fact that I’m fluent in French, so I understand what he’s saying to them.  That’s one of the biggest frustrations I’ve heard from other parents trying to raise their kids bilingual- that both parents don’t speak both languages, so one parent doesn’t understand what the other is saying to the kids.  (That would be rough on me, if I didn’t follow along with what Guillaume said to our children!)
But besides Guillaume being French, and therefore us having an easy “in” to the bilingual world, I had always hoped to one day raise my children bilingual, before I had even met him.  I studied French in high school, and always wanted (and still do!) to learn Russian, so I don’t know what language I would have gone with, but I wanted to at least try.  I want my children to grow up with a respect for other cultures around the world, and not expect the world to revolve around their English speaking skills.  I love that we’re able to give them this opportunity, and if bilingual parenting is something that you’re working on too, I wish you the best of luck!!  Stick it out, it’s SO worth it!  While we’re in France over the next few weeks, I thought I’d share some more of our bilingual journey with our kids, some of the challenges, and different methods that we’ve tried/seen other parents do!  And if you have any questions, I would LOVE to chat with you!  Send me an email/comment anytime!
Happy Monday friends!


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