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How do I start OPOL with a 3 year old?

(4 Posts)
spekulatius Sat 30-Jan-16 00:18:00

I don't know why but I find it really difficult to speak to my DD in my native language (German) so until know I've always spoken English to her. I find the English language a lot more polite and I just prefer it. We've now got a newborn baby as well so I thought it would be a good time to make serious efforts to speak German to both of them. My question is how. Do I just get up one day and only speak German? Do I tell her what the words mean in English? I even bought a book on bilingualism, just don't have time to read it!

justwondering72 Fri 26-Feb-16 08:21:54

Pretty much, I think!

For your three years old, is she used to hearing you speak German at all? I suspect that you'll have to explain to her why you are doing so, and encourage her to try and answer German when she can.

The other things you can use to support this include reading German books, playing games in German with her and teaching her words that are relevant, cartoons and songs and DVDs in German etc. German radio on.

Does your oh speak German? I've got an Anglo friend who's married to a French man, living in France. They always did strict OPOL with their daughter, plus they made English the shared home language btw the adults - on the basis that she'd hear a lot more French outside the home - at nursery, school, grandparents etc. So she made home a bit of an English bubble for her daughter. Could you and your oh speak German?

Plus... German speaking friends? Are there any groups or associations nearby? German language playgroups? And visits to relatives in Germany, who don't speak English?

The aim, as I understand it, is to arrange things so that at least 1/3 of a child's exposure to language us in the minority tongue - whether that's speaking with you, listening to cartoons, etc. I suspect it might be a bit of an uphill battle with your oldest but everything she hears will be going in somewhere.

fairybells Mon 27-Jun-16 10:31:09

I know this is an old thread but I just wonder: how did it go? Has your DD learned any German yet? I'm in the same situation with my nearly 3 year old DD now, I also have a new baby and really want to teach them both my native language. My reasons to speak in English to my DD are exactly what yours were....

Mimosa1 Wed 29-Jun-16 19:11:08

Posting as I'm in a similar situation (realise it's an old thread). My DH and I are English living in London. I grew up in France and speak french fluently but never spoke French to my daughter as it didn't come naturally. Would love to hear experiences from people who decided to make the switch when their kids were toddlers - thanks!

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