Every book you read about teaching your child a second language will tell you its totally normal that your child will go through phases where he or she does NOT want to speak, hear or have anything to do with the language you are introducing. That doesn’t make it any easier when it happens!
My older son Emmett (6) must have read those books because he is in a full on frontal defense mode, practically arm wrestling me with his eyes when I try to speak French with him. He says “don’t speak French!” and sometimes covers his ears in case I don’t get it. Happily, he has been hearing French since he was a baby, so even though he’s far from fluent, he’s pretty comfortable and I know that this is just a phase. I can also always speak French to his 2 1/2 year old little brother in ear shot!
Even so, I must admit that it has not been fun. For awhile I stopped speaking French to him, it just didn’t seem worth the battle. This was until last week when I was interviewed by Roxana of SpanglishBaby about helping her get her daughter started on her third language (French). We commiserated about kids occasional resistance to our language (she taught her daughter Spanish), and her persistence inspired me to re-commit to teaching Emmett.
I made a promise to Roxana and to myself that I would speak French at breakfast to my boys every day for two weeks. To make it fun for Emmett I told him that at the end of the two weeks I’d take him out for a special French breakfast ( he loves croissants and chocolat chaud!). That did the trick. Now we are back on track, drinking our ‘jus d’orange‘ in the morning and having ‘du lait s’I’ll vous plait‘ in our cereal!
Too all the moms and dads getting through “No” right now, hang in there and remember to keep it fun! Make up a new game or offer a special treat but don’t give up. They will thank you later if you keep it up.
Watch my video blog with Roxana below.