One decision I never thought I’d have to make is how to teach my kids to speak English fluently. I’m American and spoke English all my life. I never thought that one day I’d fall in love with a Frenchman and be raising a family in France. I enjoyed my high school French class, but lets face it, I butchered the language. I still do. I think my neighbors talk to me more for personal amusement than for information.
My husband and I decided that I would speak to the kids in English, while my husband would speak to them in French. When we are together, we speak in English. If we are with guests or in public, we try to speak in French. I say the word “try” because it’s habitual for me to speak to the kids in English, so I sometimes forget to switch to French.
This all worked out wonderfully until my daughter started school when she turned 3 years old (this past September).
Now, my worst fear of raising bilingual kids in France has been realized…
My daughter’s French vocabulary is becoming more diverse than mine. I’m actually learning French from her. If I don’t understand what she’s saying, I have to ask my husband for a translation.
To make matters worse, the other day when my daughter told me something in French and I didn’t respond immediately, she repeated herself in English. Thank you, but I didn’t need the translation. At least, not this time.
I knew this day would come, but this soon?
I’m thankful that both kids are learning French and English without any problems. I was worried they would not be able to communicate with my family back at home, or to other kids here when starting school. Now, I need to start worrying about me being able to understand them.
It’s fun raising bilingual children, and I love listening to my laughter speak in French. Her little voice is music to my ears. I can’t wait for Mathieu to really start talking. Right now, his favorite word in English is “more.” Yes, the American blood is strong in this one.
Thanks to my daughter, I should be fluent by the time he’s talking in sentences.