Establishing the 2nd Language – tips please!

… as some of you may be aware we are a “Bilingual” family household. I speak German with the kids. Dad speaks English with them. And when we are all together we all speak English.

I know.. ideally I should be speaking German ALL the time. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. (Partly because I want us to communicate as a family and partly, because my English, after years in the UK IS better!). This of course means, that the children’s German is suffering. They are currently 4yrs and 2.5yrs – so in many ways it is early days. I am not too worried YET.

Both children’s English language skills are good and age appropriate. They understand everything I say to them in German, but I have noticed that they are not so good at understanding “more complicated German tenses”. Also they refuse to speak German… they do use the odd German vocabulary, but I rarely get a German sentence out of them.

My theory: they are so confident in English, that it frustrates them to speak “broken” German and that they will start speaking more German as their English settles down.

Yet I still worry.

We read a lot of German books (though I guess it could be more). We watch German DVDs (but I know you learn less vocabularly through TV) and we have a number of German speaking friends (however all the kids speak English with each other).

We still plan to send them to the German School when they are 8.

What should I do next to reinforce German? Is it enough that it is just me speaking to them in German? Should I start German lessons? What are your top tips?!


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