My husband and I both speak English but I am bilingual and speak German as well. I would like to teach my son German, he is 19 months old. What is the best way for me to do this?
I have been thinking of speaking German with him every morning and then English in the afternoon after his nap. Will this confuse him?
I would appreciate your feedback.
The best way for you to teach German to your son is simply to use German with him whenever you feel like using German with him. You don’t need to worry about setting up a schedule for speaking your languages with your child.
You can of course do this, if you so wish, but you may well find yourself speaking English (or German) at the “wrong” time of day, checking your watch before talking to your child in order to find out which language is due at the time, or worrying that you’re not being a good parent because you’re not following a “rule” – a rule that you imposed on yourself.
Language learning comes through use that makes sense, and the only rule is that uses of language be natural. If both your languages come naturally to you, they will come naturally to your child too.
You ask whether your son will be confused, hearing two languages from you: if multilingualism were confusing, we would have to conclude that the majority of the world’s population, which consists of multilinguals, is confused. Using several languages to children does not confuse them: it simply shows them what being multilingual is all about.
Do feel free to contact me privately, if you wish to discuss these matters in greater detail.