Forum home You & Your Baby

Raising children bilingual from birth

Hello Ladies! A bit of background, I moved to the UK from Belgium about 2 years ago to be with my other half. I speak English and Dutch, and the OH speaks just English, though he is trying to learn a little bit of Dutch but can in no way speak it yet.

We are expecting our first baby in April. We are both over the moon and want to raise our little one bilingual, as my family don't speak much English and we would love both families to be able to communicate properly with our little one!

I have tried to read up a little bit on the subject, but a lot of books/articles are based on both parents speaking both languages. After a bit more research we have decided to do what's mostly suggested, for 1 parent to speak only English to the baby and the other parent only to speak the other language (Dutch in this case), as baby can only hear this spoken at home or on visits to Belgium (which would only be every few months).

We were wondering if anyone has any experience with this and maybe any useful tips? Any help would be greatly appreciated! x


  • MegsMegs Posts: 547

    I don't have any experience but my old next door neighbours brought their child up bilingual. She spoke Russian to the child, while he spoke English. When she got a little older she used to speak Russian when it was just her and the little girl but when they went out as a family they spoke English so as not to make her hubby feel excluded. I think they had a few problems in the beginning but as their daughter got older they found it a lot easier image xx

  • I am spanish and my husband english.

    I plan on speaking only spanish to the baby and Rob will do english x

  • I don't have personal experience only speaking English but I am a Speech and Language Therapist and we advise lots of our families on this. The most up-to-date advice I have heard is to be relaxed with your languages so don't worry if you mix languages as that is normal for bilingual speakers. Saying that, you would probably want to speak as much Dutch as possible to balance out the English being heard from dad and out and about. Also from a young age teach the child the names of the languages they speak e.g. Grannie is coming so we're talking Dutch. I really wish I spoke more than 1 language!

  • RedVelvetRedVelvet Posts: 1,297 New bride

    I'm intending to speak primarily Norwegian with the baby the day we have one, and let hubby and everyone else around do the English.

  • manfawmanfaw Posts: 2,756

    I think teaching your baby from birth another language is a wonderful idea!  Its harder as you get older and it'll be second nature to them if they learn from so young.  Unfortunately all our baby will have too look forward to is Scouse Vs Cockney lol although some would say are very different languagesimage

  • KK12KK12 Posts: 927

    I am bi-lingual.

    My parents are Polish but I was born in the UK. My Mum reckons that I learnt to speak English from listening to the TV and by going to playgroup as she didn't want me to pick up any bad habits from her or my Dad speaking bad English.

    So I reckon I must have spoken both languages from an early age.

    I would speak English at school during the day and then Polish at night with my Mum and Dad.

    I didn't learn to write Polish till much later on but I could read it from the age of 5.

    I guess I didn't know any different and would also have Polish/English convos with my Mum - still do lol! image

  • I am a nanny for 2 bilingual families. The parents speak Italian to the children all the time but repeat what they say in English when I am around for me to understand the important stuff. Now the older 2 of the 4 are older they speak English all the time in front of me and the kids are amazing at swapping from english to italian there is nI problem what so ever. They are extremely bright and didn't suffer with delayed speech. The younger of the 2 different story the older of the youngest spoke both at the age of 18 months then stopped English all together until 2. 3 months ago, watching English cartoons was the trick and now he is really confident with both. The youngest is still only 21 months and is delayed in speech but speaks both when he can! Just go with it an it will be amazing xx

Sign In or Register to comment.