How we bilingual: Part 1

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If I haven’t made many posts yet about raising bilingually, it’s because I had not gotten into a groove and figured out exactly what to do and do consistently.

I’ve been checking out other blogs that touch on raising bilingually, and am comfortable with what we’ve been doing for the past week. Many blogs mention different methods of raising bilingually, one method being One Parent, One Language, or OPOL.

Chouchou speaks English only and I speak French and English, although French is a second language. For the past week, I have been speaking to Mon Cœur (MC) pretty much exclusively in French. I also like that Chouchou is also picking up some French here and there, so I don’t feel like I am excluding him when I speak to her in French.

For example, every day this past week, he has been home when we leave for school, so I tell MC, <<Allez faire un bisou et un calin à Papa. Dis-lui je t’aime et bonne journée!>> (Go give dad a kiss and hug. Tell him I love you and have a good day!).

Throughout the week, I have needed to switch to English for words like: flush! (tire la chasse d’eau!) and pull ups (une couche-culotte) thank you wordreference!; and I have switched to English when trying to negotiate with a toddler pre/post tantrum. I just want to make sure she understands, right?

Over the next bit of time (notice the indefinite quantity of time – there are so many quality bilingual bloggers out there), I will be sharing specific blog posts and sites who help me feel validated in what I am already doing or that have great ideas that we will be incorporating into our great bilingual family experiment!

Simple everyday activities: MammaPrada’s post validated many things that I already do:

1 &2. Reading books in French and singing songs on the radio are the top things we like to do. The other day, in preparation to send a birthday video to ma maman française (my French mom), we sang Joyeux Anniversaire…a lot. Every time I finished the song, MC said “Again!” and I would ask her in French, “Will you help me?” She’d say, “No!” and that was our thirty minute car ride to school. On repeat. Smile.

3. Naming objects while doing chores – I try to name objects whenever we are doing chores, taking baths, doing dinner, or walking around, and MC has begun to repeat me in French, which I love. Today she learned what un aspirator (a vacuum) is and got it for me so I could clean before school. On the way to school, she was practicing how to say octopus in French (une pieuvre) because she was taking it to show and tell at daycare today. She was going, “Pee-you!… vruh” which just made me laugh so hard before dropping her off.

4. Watching movies. MC doesn’t get much screen time daily, but when she does (usually if I’m trying to cook dinner by myself or complete a chore by myself), she loves her tv show Toupi et Binou – the best buy ever from a dollar store! Who would’ve thought I’d find a French (Canadian) show in a dollar store in central Virginia?

Also, sometimes we will watch movies in the French version so she is hearing the language. When I do this with an American movie that she usually watches in English, I tell her, “Madeline wants to watch with you, so can we please put it in French?,” and I bring her Madeline doll out. It’s our little symbol to help her know she’s hearing French. Whenever the Madeline doll comes out, we speak in French so Madeline can understand, too.

5. Play games to learn numbers. We enjoy counting steps when going up them, counting number lines, counting objects in books and around the house, etc. There are also lots of counting songs in French that we will sing together. My favorite? Un, deux, trois, je m’en vais au bois.

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