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To want Nanny to speak all German to kids?

(260 Posts)
mika2 Tue 09-Aug-16 08:35:01

German Nanny (fluent English) starts next month 4 days a week (8-6pm) and I think it's a great opportunity for kids to learn German. They are 3 and 1. Nanny said she was happy to do so during interview. I have very rusty conversational German and also plan to practice my German. I would like her to only speak to kids in German from day 1 and read German books, sing songs in German, watch German cartoons on iPad etc with the aim of them having a good understanding of the language this time next year, rather than just knowing colours etc. Anyway DH thinks it's crazy and kids will be very confused etc. He vetoed putting this in her contract and doesn't see having a second language as a priority whereas I feel really strongly about it... Just to be clear I didn't deliberately hire her because she is German, we liked her and it was an added bonus. Who is BU?

That1950sMum Tue 09-Aug-16 08:38:08

It sounds very contrived and I doubt the German would really stick. I think you'd need German all the time at home to really immerse the children in the language. Also seems a little unfair on the Nanny who is not being paid as a language teacher.

GinAndOnIt Tue 09-Aug-16 08:39:30

I think she should start by saying both, so 'DC would you like a sandwich?' Repeat in German and so on. The gradually whittle down on the English.
The kids (especially 3y/o) may struggle to bond in the early days if they can't chit chat.

Noonesfool Tue 09-Aug-16 08:41:26

Are you planning on moving to a German speaking country?

If not then I'd concentrate on your kids having a lovely time with their nanny and get her to teach them colours, songs, numbers etc. That's all they'll learn if they go to an early years/primary school that does German.

Noonesfool Tue 09-Aug-16 08:42:28

I had a nanny who spoke Farsi to me and I was fluent by the time I was 3. Lost it totally as soon as we moved...

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 09-Aug-16 08:45:16

I was fluent in another language until I was 4,lost it when we moved.

MumsFlouncingOnASummerHoliday Tue 09-Aug-16 08:49:08

Ds1 and 2 had a second language fluently until 7 and 9. At 10 and 12 they can understand quite well when they tune in but have to really focus to put together a sentence because we just don't use the second language.

I do believe exposure, beyond just numbers and colours, to a second language and different structure rules (not taught as rules just the understanding that things are different) gives a huge advantage in picking up other languages as children get older.

I think theres plenty of middle ground between full immersion and just numbers/ colours that would probably be less stressful to your household.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Aug-16 08:49:50

Not a Nanny, but back to back au pairs who were French they did not speak French all the time to DD, but read stories, sang songs and watched some French TV. DD was 4-7 for this, her spoken French at 12 is not much, but she understands everything if she is listening to a French conversation. I gave since had Spanish and Italian au pairs. DD has done a language carousel of French, Spanish, Italian and Madarin at school since reception, with mandarin as her primary language. She can get by in French, Spanish and Italian, Mandarin is excellent. She is now 12, last year she choose only mandarin and this coming year picks French up again. The Au pairs helped particular with accent, but her success has been in the language that she has a natural aptitude for.
I have read the research and feel that exposure to other languages before 10 years of age is really important in many ways and actively approached education and childcare with this in mind. But I don't think it needs to be totally immersive.

xinchao Tue 09-Aug-16 08:52:36

Agree with Gin - help the kids to bond first in English and have her gradually introduce the German. I think it is a real gift to give your children.

ASAS Tue 09-Aug-16 08:52:47

My child is now bilingual after a year of 12 hrs per week immersion. To me it's the most natural way to learn.

NeeNahh Tue 09-Aug-16 08:56:14

Maybe your nanny came to England so she could improve her English. She might not want to speak german all the time.

davos Tue 09-Aug-16 08:57:53

All the time? Yabu.

heatherwithapee Tue 09-Aug-16 08:59:00

I think it's a fantastic opportunity. At your children's ages, they will pick it up naturally and easily. The 3 year old might be a bit confused for a week or so, the 1 year old won't notice.

There are lots of benefits to being bilingual.
Even if they aren't likely to need /use German again once Nanny has moved on, learning any language early on helps with acquiring other languages later in life.

Do it!

Footle Tue 09-Aug-16 09:02:08

Will she take them to groups with non-German speaking children ? You and she need to work out what language she and they will use in social situations so they don't feel isolated from the other kids.

Sidge Tue 09-Aug-16 09:03:24

Speak exclusively in German from the start? No.

They are very young and they need to prioritise forming a relationship with the nanny in their primary language first (which I assume is English) so need to understand her to learn to trust her. I think it would be very strange and scary to be left in the sole care of someone who can't speak the same language from a child's point of view.

I don't see why she can't introduce German once she has spent some time getting to know them and they her. But as a PP said, speak in English, repeat in German.

Disclaimer - I am not bilingual.

Ginslinger Tue 09-Aug-16 09:03:33

DH is German and he always used German with the DCs when they were small. Any book in English we also had in German so that the DCs were able to see the context of what was happening. They are all bilingual and DS2 could pass for German.

shinynewusername Tue 09-Aug-16 09:03:40

Agree with PPs - unless you are going to arrange for them to have German lessons for the next decade or so, there is no point doing this as your DC won't remember the German. My SIL has forgotten her mother tongue, barring a few words, despite having spoken it exclusively till the age of 7 and learning to read/write in it. Her own DC were bilingual to the age of 2/4 when they moved countries and now can't speak a word of the 2nd language.

Focus on your au pair getting the 3 yo interested in the concept of there being more than one language and making a game out of learning a few words.

Nabootique Tue 09-Aug-16 09:04:36

I think it's a great idea. I have a friend whose 5 year old daughter has spoken 3 languages since she was 3. Parents spoke to her in their respective native languages, and the nanny spoke to her in English. Even if at some point they forget it, there must be enough remaining to make it easier when they go on to study it at school, surely?

diddl Tue 09-Aug-16 09:05:35

Are you paying extra for her to teach them another language?

ptumbi Tue 09-Aug-16 09:09:33

What a fantastic opportunity! My mum is German but didn't talk to us at all in German (dear father wouldn't let her) and I still think it is a wasted opportunity. i could be fluent - the only german i learned is from when we were visiting mums family (who didn't speak english)

German kids learn english at school, but they also have a lot of it about - in music, films, subtitled TV... they learn almost by osmosis, and your kids will too, OP!

Don't let this slip away - you learn so much easier at a young age.

00100001 Tue 09-Aug-16 09:10:01

It's a bit... odd if none of you are German speakers and you aren't planning to move to a German speaking country.

Why would you make her teach the kids German? What if she leaves in one year? What would it achieve? confused

EnquiringMingeWantsToKnow Tue 09-Aug-16 09:10:50

She's a nanny not an au pair Neenahhh, she's being (presumably) well paid to work according to her employer's reasonable requirements and specifically accepted at interview that this stipulation was reasonable.

ParadiseCity Tue 09-Aug-16 09:12:15

I think it is a great idea - it doesn't matter if they don't stay fluent in german all their lives but to learn another language at such a young age is such a great thing to do.

I would probably prefer the nanny to ease into it than just go 100% german from the start though.

JudyCoolibar Tue 09-Aug-16 09:12:21

The children won't get confused, there are plenty of bilingual families around. However, I agree that doing this from Day 1 is over-ambitious, she does need to get to know them first.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 09-Aug-16 09:14:07

you are, without a shadow of a doubt

HTH grin

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