Bilingual Families: Catch One Another in the Act!

by Corey · 4 comments

Multilingual Living reader, Kymber, sent in the following language learning activity that she and her family do together!  She wrote this in response to Carla’s language activity: Play the Beeping Game with Your Bilingual Children.

The key is to keep this fun – everyone should be able to catch the one another “in the act” of speaking the “other” language.  Laughter is key with an activity like this! Make sure to let your kids catch you from time to time.

Thank you Kymber for taking the time to send in this wonderful suggestion!

Each time someone in the household catches the other speaking English, we get a “mark” on a paper posted on the frig and have to pay a price (pennies for kids, dimes for us).  At the end of the week, the person with the lease marks wins the pot of money.

We may have to start upping the amount soon as my kids get more money savvy, but the oldest is 7, so this works for now.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrew October 27, 2010 at 10:16 pm

That’s a fantastic idea that I’ve heard many variations of before–you might do something like this where, instead of in relation to language-learning, you do it in relation to weight-loss where every time you eat something unallowed you have to put a dollar in a pot, the contents of which get donated to a charity at the end of every month or something like that. It’s a nifty little reinforcement technique designed to instill the desired habit VERY quickly by constantly reminding you of it every time you deviate from the desired behavior. It’s very effective.


P.S. For someone trying to learn a language on their own, you could get friends or family to help you out here by doing something simple, for example: they will, whenever they feel like it, randomly point to an object and say “What’s that?” and if you can’t answer in the language that you’re learning then you have to give them a dollar. It gets your vocabulary learning kick-started REAL quick 😉


2 Corey November 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for the additional tips, Andrew! Money can be such a strong incentive! Hah!


3 Gemma October 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

That is a fantastic tip for teaching Spanish for kids! I’m so gonna do that – dunno if they’ll be too happy about it though =)


4 Corey November 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Hah, let us know how it goes, Gemma! 🙂


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