Polylingual Parenthood - worries of a multilingual mother - Alejandra's Life
Parenting: Experiences, happiness and being a Mum

Polylingual Parenthood – worries of a multilingual mother

August 24, 2016

I am a poliglot. Which means I can speak several languages, from Spanish to Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian and Mandarin.

I love to study languages and nothing is better than to travel somewhere and know the language.

At home, we speak 3 languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish. Sometimes we even mix the 2 of them in a sentence but it’s who we are and our roots. Some words just need to be said as we learn them.

And that, as parents, left us with a terrible doubt that is now happening.

We didn’t knew what language to speak with RJ, but since TV and friend speak in English, and family is in Portuguese. So we let the “river flow” and see what will happen.

I was born in Venezuela but my parents were Portuguese, and I was raised speaking Spanish since my parents thought it would be best for me to hear the tongue in the country where I was going to school. Only when I was 10 years old, I started to learn portuguese.

Rj is 23 months old, almost 2 years old in 2 weeks, and he still is not talking.

He has said “mama” or “daddy” and some random words, but when we ask him to say it again, he won’t (stubborn).

We speak with him daily, I have been teaching him some flash cards daily, and nothing. Not a word.

We have a Spanish group for babies where we sing rhymes and nursery songs and he has fun dancing and he does understand it (see more about this group).

Of course as parents, we started to get worried. Really worried!

We spoke with doctors, nurses, friends, family and all of them have a experience that children learn to speak at their own pace.

Rj can understand everything in Portuguese and English, perfectly.

I made the test saying him to do something in Portuguese, then asked the same thing in English and he completely understood. He is a very intelligent boy that understands everything and he has his own chores to do at home (will be another post), so nothing wrong with him.

With all of this I just realized that he has time to start talking. At his own pace. He is picking up every word and sentence he say to him in different languages and “putting them in folders” in his brain. Analyzing and organizing everything.

If you had the same worries as me about his, don’t worry. If your child understand you and has a good motor skill coordination and does what he is told, he is simply a perfectionist that is figuring in out what language he will communicate.

If you had this experience, let me know below your thoughts and worries and how are you dealing with this.

Ale x

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