Teaching Your Child The Language You Speak Imperfectly…

So, Mikey and I both speak languages other than English. He’s fluent in French, proficient in Spanish. I’m proficient in Japanese and have okay travel-Mandarin Chinese.

Have we taught these to the kids?


LAZY BUMS! I know,  right?!

We suck! Sometimes we get hit with a bug to be better parents and we are all, ‘let’s do it!’ and talk a mouthful of French or Japanese and thennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn……. it just slooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly fades again like one of those sad deflating party balloons.

My lovely friend Heather came on over  recently with her tribe, husband Fran and scrumptiously adorable (and fierce) twin girls. Heather is fluent in Spanish and BAM, she gets going with her daughters and it’s all Spanish, only Spanish.

I am so inspired.

Child language learning –

I want to be able to do that with our kids – and I think despite the fact that my Japanese is far from perfect, it’s still something, right? I mean, one of the reasons I’ve been holding back on teaching them Japanese is thinking, ‘oh but they’ll learn my mistakes’ – but I guess even learning it that way, Japanese by a non-fluent speaker, is better than no Japanese at all?

Well, we’re going to get going with it try to keep it all going this time. Like, really, really, really. We’re going to pull on our stick-to-it gloves and keep ’em on.

 The Plan:

1. Just talk to the kids in the respective language. We can sign along with the newer words to “translate” an unfamiliar word without having to speak English

2. Keep talking

3. And talking

4. More talking

5. Slip in some TV shows – Japanese kid shows, French shows, Spanish version of Dora the Explorer?

6. Apps on the iPad

7. Read books to the kids in the target languages.

8. ????


Any advice? Are you doing this too?


is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
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1 Comment

  • i’m fighting my battles right now because my kid went from Vietnamese only to English all day long at school, so she comes home and is excited to tell me all things, get slammed with “can you say it in Vietnamese?” and all her enthusiasms = gone; mood = gone. Most of the time she gets so frustrated that I get an annoying whinny kid instead of a chatty happy one. My friends have gotten their kids to be semi fluent in Vietnamese, but they grew up in VN, me, I left when I was in elementary school, so although I’m very fluent in Vietnamese, I don’t do Vietnamese when I go on a rant, which I find myself doing a good share these days (“I have nothing to do~~~” totally gets me ranting). I’m not willing to rant in Vietnamese, because it is dropping a part of me that I like to keep. So i fight my battles daily ha ha.

    Like you i’m travel and reading/hearing proficient in other languages ( Chinese and French), Son can get by with Vietnamese and French, fluent in Dutch.. What is our kid speaking ? nonsense. all day long.

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