We have a newborn, and among all the excitement, I'm also super looking forward to raising him as bilingual (I'm English, living abroad and married to a native of my new country). So English will be our DS's second language.
Am I being overeager by thinking about how to stimulate his English learning already? When is a good time to start (obviously I already speak to him in English, but should I be putting on English language television and stuff like that?)
Any tips? I've read loads about how to raise kids who are learning to speak two languages together, but can't find much about how to get a head start before your child is actually speaking.
DH and I are both native English speakers living abroad. DS was born here. We speak English at home; TV, radio channels and books are generally in English. DS learnt Dutch at nursery, and at school. He is 6. English is his first language but he sometimes talks to himself and plays on his own in Dutch too. He reads and writes both languages as I taught him at home. I think if you stick to English and always use English with him it will just happen.
You start on day one by speaking to him all the time in English. You can sing to him, tell him nursery rhymes and read to him. We are Germans and it is easy to read baby books to a newborn, it's not that you want a comprehension exam afterwards.
I would avoid TV though, a newborn can't see it anyway. When he is older it is great for introducing your own culture as well, DD knows lots of old children TV due to us buying DVDs with things DH and I grew up with.
Does your DH speaks English? If so, make English the family language and your DH speaks the native language (plus any extended family as well). This will increase the exposure of English as a second language while the native language is absorb through interaction with family and outside world.
What are your plans for the future? If you are a SAHM for more than maternity leave then go out and get the native language via playgroups and baby classes. If you return to work then don't worry, just keep up with English at home.
You are in a great position if you and your partner speak English. Just read, talk and sing to baby in English. Always talk when doing things with baby. If you plan on living there a long time your child will pick up the majority language at school and from environment.