Parenting & Family

Will This Confuse My 3 Year Old Kid?

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  • Jan 10th, 2019 5:49 pm
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[OP]
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Sep 5, 2010
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Will This Confuse My 3 Year Old Kid?

Lately, in an effort to teach my toddler son our native language, I sometimes will say a word or sentence to him in English and right after that repeat it in our language. Or do the reverse: say it to him in my language then repeat it in English.

Will this help him with learning the language basics at least or will it confuse him?
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16 replies
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Nov 13, 2013
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I haven't heard this method. Lots of advice to keep one language for each parent or switch days etc. There is of course no study that can be done that can prove which method is best. (no control group possible)

It sounds like both parents have the same language? Why not speak only in that language and allow school and daycare to teach him English? It is hard to keep up a foreign language unless you work at it. I think too many people give up when the kid resists. Most kids resist potty training at some point doesn't mean you throw up your hands and say well they can wear diapers their whole life. If it is important your kid speaks the native language then make an effort. If you don't really care admit that and don't even try.

My 2 cents
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May 23, 2017
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I am interested in this as well, sorry to hijack your post OP. if you want me to I will create my own thread.

Our daughter will be learning English from me (and my wife) and Tagalog from my wife (i do not speak it)

what is the best method to learn both?
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Mar 24, 2015
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If they are learning English at school, leave it to school. Speak your native language at home.
I never spoke English with my 4yr old, only French. He goes to French school too. He started to speak English for the past few months now without us teaching him how to. He learned it from activity classes, friends, and watching TV in English.
riseagainstthemachine wrote:
Dec 21st, 2018 9:13 am
I am interested in this as well, sorry to hijack your post OP. if you want me to I will create my own thread.

Our daughter will be learning English from me (and my wife) and Tagalog from my wife (i do not speak it)

what is the best method to learn both?
I would suggest your wife only speaks Tagalog to your daughter and you do the English. If your wife speaks both, I'm afraid your daughter won't want to speak Tagalog because she knows your wife understands English. My 8 yr old used to speak only English before we went to a full French school. Whenever I spoke French to him, he would always reply in English because it was easier. Now he doesn't have much choice with French because they are not allowed to speak English at school.
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Aug 15, 2015
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I know a bunch of toddlers who lost their first language as soon as they went to school. Originally, they were fluent and can only communicate in their first language but as soon as they went to an all English school, they lost their first language completely.

You really have to reinforce them to practice speaking at home daily after school or else they will be out of practice and not comfortable speaking the language that is not used at school.
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I can't find the study right now, but I remember it saying that kids learn the language faster if you explain the concept to them in the second language and their brain figures out the meaning on its own, rather than translating it to English right away.

I don't think you can go wrong either way as long as you teach your child with a method that seems to be working for them. I didn't learn English until I went to school and a lot of people in Canada grow up this way. Some racist people told my parents that I would grow up unable to speak English properly unless they ditched the native language and only spoke English to me lol. All lies, so do what is best for your family

Either way I don't think you will do harm with your method because exposure is important. My parents immersed me in their own language but when we speak today we do throw in English words here and there (when there is a more accurate English word to describe the situation). But when people from the old country hear me speak they assume I'm native.
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Dec 27, 2013
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Poppwl wrote:
Dec 28th, 2018 4:16 am
I know a bunch of toddlers who lost their first language as soon as they went to school. Originally, they were fluent and can only communicate in their first language but as soon as they went to an all English school, they lost their first language completely.

You really have to reinforce them to practice speaking at home daily after school or else they will be out of practice and not comfortable speaking the language that is not used at school.
I'm guessing those toddlers lost their first language because it wasn't spoken at home? To this day I speak in my native language with my family. It's just strange speaking to them in English. If fthe native language is spoken exclusively at home there's no way they'll lose it while learning English at school.
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Best bet is one of you only starts speaking only the native language to him, and one he starts getting more comfortable, both of you switch to it, sooner rather than later.
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Aug 20, 2017
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in our home we speak only native language and english. our 3 year old now understands both and speaks native language cause once school starts, he will pickup in english. Same was the case at my home when i grew up. We visited a few doctors which this concerns and they too advised speak native at home so that he learns and understands native :)
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Jun 24, 2015
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i mix italian and english with my kids, but the funny thing is some of the italian words even english only kids understand so i dont see it doing much effectiveness
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The best way to reinforce a language is to use it and be consistent.
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jvnanu wrote:
Dec 28th, 2018 10:58 am
I'm guessing those toddlers lost their first language because it wasn't spoken at home? To this day I speak in my native language with my family. It's just strange speaking to them in English. If fthe native language is spoken exclusively at home there's no way they'll lose it while learning English at school.
Well, I heard from friends that their younger siblings refused to speak the original first language at home after school started. I have also heard from adults who later regretted not practicing with their parents at home when they were young and given every opportunity to but refused and lost the ability to speak the original first language with minimal accent. Those people always sound like a foreigner when they speak their original first language. I have also seen people trying to practice their original first language later in life and it was painful because the people they are practicing on can understand English perfectly. Those people lack vocabulary dramatically and speak with a huge accent.

For myself, I think and speak in both of the languages I am fluent in. My reading comprehension in both of the lanaguages I am fluent in is pretty good and I know how to use the dictionary.
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Poppwl wrote:
Dec 30th, 2018 1:52 am
Well, I heard from friends that their younger siblings refused to speak the original first language at home after school started.
Solution to this is to outright pretend you can't understand the child unless they speak to you in the native language. I remember my brother trying to slip into English and my parents using this method. He speaks the other language fine
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Make sure the kid speaks only English and French at school. I hate situations where I can't hear anything because they are speaking in a language I cannot understand and on top of that they are mumbling or whispering at the same time. It's fine if they are memorizing something by themselves but not in a group, it looks scary.

There should be a place and time to practicing the native language, this will also encourage new immigrants to pick up English or French faster.
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Nov 1, 2009
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I don't think it will confuse your son if anything it will only help him in the future.

An example of this was my sister, who was born here.
At a young age she was spoken to at home Tagalog, but English & French during school.

What helped during the process was her having children picture books with both English & Tagalog in them.
Even though her writing & reading might not be a strong suit, it was speech were it paid dividends.

Went back home (Phillipines), my sister was not lost among our extended relatives & cousins, she was able to converse with them.
Only difference was she would reply in English to them but was able to understand/comprehens what's being said to her.

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