DRESS: Ivy City Co (10% off: ANNIE10) // SHOES: Sam Edelman // CHLOE’S DRESS: Ivy City Co // CHLOE’S SHOES: Freshly Picked
As many of you know, Chloe’s first language is Vietnamese. Her vocabulary at this moment is about 90% Vietnamese and 10% English. With Liam, unfortunately, it’s the opposite. Liam speaks and understands about 90% English and 10% Vietnamese. Some people joke around and say that the first child is kind of like a test run and in this case, I’ve learn a lot from my mistakes with trying to teach Liam to learn Vietnamese. I want to share how we’ve been able to be successful at teaching Chloe to speak Vietnamese and the steps were taking for her to continue to be bilingual in the future. I want to clarify that these are tips that I recommend using early on. This post is specially for teaching babies and toddlers. Not 5+ year olds. I’m still learning that part.
TIP 1: The most important tip is to be consistent with speaking the language that ISN’T English first. Our children will have the rest of their lives to learn English. In almost 95%+ of the settings that they’ll be in outside of the house, English is spoken. With Liam, I got into a habit of speaking English to him more often than I wanted to because it was the language I used to speak to Tommy. From early on, speak to your baby/child in your native language and make it a habit. Habits start early on and keeping it consistent is key.
TIP 2: Explain to your partner why it’s important to teach your children that language. If your partner takes initiative, it makes it a lot easier. I’m not going to lie, Tommy hated the idea of not being able to understand his child but knew that she would eventually pick up English as she got older.
Take this as an opportunity for your partner to also pick up a couple of words/phrases in your native language. Have your spouse continue to use common words in the foreign language. Some words that Tommy says to Chloe in Vietnamese versus English are, “eat”, “pick you up”, “take a bath”, and “let’s go play”.
TIP 3: “Correcting the English word”. When Chloe learns a new word, for example “car” (because she probably heard it from her brothers or myself), I’ll immediately correct her and say “xe” (Vietnamese way to saying car). Almost every word that she picks up in English, I’ll teach it to her in Vietnamese. In my experience, when I don’t do that, that English word sticks and sticks and she won’t say it in Vietnamese. Again, this is when your child is a baby, not over the age of 3/4.
TIP 4: As your child gets older and starts watching tv, put on shows in your native language. Vietnamese nurseries are SLIM pickings on YouTube but I’ve managed to find a couple.
When I say to surround your child in that native language, I mean in every possible way. If you have a family member that speaks that native language, make sure they’re speaking to your child in the same language.
For Liam and Easton, I don’t feel that it’s ever too late for them to pick up the language. They’ve already gotten so much better since being around my family. We have a Vietnamese school here in Houston that we plan on utilizing once things are back to normal. Look up if there are schools that teach child your native language around you. As they get older and learn a lot of English in school and social surroundings, it’s nice to continue to enforce learning your native tongue.
I hope these tips have helped! Please let me know if yall have any questions.
Thank you so much for reading.
*Photos by Banavenue