Bilingual Familes – Bedtime Stories

A few of you will now that we are a “Bilingual Family” – I am half Austrian and my better half is British. So the kids speak English and understand German.

That really pains me to write. I would love for them to SPEAK German too. But as many biligual families will tell you it is a struggle (or at least I hope they say that, else I am a complete and utter failure).

It all started off so well. I found some fellow German mums and we had regular German playdates. It helped ME above all to “Get back into German” (English has been my dominant language for a long time). And I was doing well. German with the Kids. English when the English speakers were around.

And then somewhere I lost my way. And we spoke more and more English. Argh.

We have an upcoming “interview” at the local(ish) German School coming. And really, I am beginning to worry about it. The kids do understand a lot, and the Boy (almost 6) is starting to try and use some German more and more. But it is very basic. So I am making an effort.

And my main effort right now ist to increase the understanding and use of vocabulary.

The focus will be on our bedtime reading books – out with the English books, in with the German Books. Reading and bedtime stories are a great opportunity to introduce more complex gramma and vocabulary not in every day use.

I am going to start with some of the books from my childhood:

Yesterday we started with Suchen Und Finden



Great for increasing vocabulary as you seek out the words highlighted in the “frame of the page”.

We also started on a Chapter Book “Das Kleine Gespenst


But it amde me realise, quite how behind we are in our vocabulary. But we battle on.

And I have some great books about a little girl called Arnie, who lives on a light house island off the coast of Australia…

71Sc+mWIOKL._SL500_It is text heavy, but also has a good amount of pictures, so I think this will help us on our German Book Bedtime reading.

Wish us luck!


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6 thoughts on “Bilingual Familes – Bedtime Stories”

  1. You are not a failure! Nico started out bilingual fully, always using the shorter/easier word to say (which was often English). Then he reverted to French only for speaking because that’s what was spoken everywhere. The only way we got him to speak English was moving to an English only speaking province and even then, it took him over 3 months to decide to do so, but within a week he went from using single words to full on English. I think if the school is consistent with their students only speaking German that may be the push he needs :) Good luck with the interview!
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        1. Yes, hopefully they won’t be too strict.. they “test” my German too.. to make sure I can support him at home and from that point of view should be fine!

  2. Good luck, both with the bedtime stories and the school :) We’re also a bilingual family (husband English, me Hungarian) and I really hope our boy will speak Hungarian as well. He’s only 18 months now, but I keep talking and reading to him in Hungarian as much as I can.
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