Using Language Mama As A Bilingual Mom: My Experiment
“Why not try it as if you are a bilingual mom?” Christine amicably suggested one day during a back-and-forth about testing and experimenting with the Planner, our latest addition to the LL4C curriculum family.
I balked inwardly because I didn’t think I could do it authentically, since I didn’t consider myself a bilingual mother. I do think of myself as a bilingual person though. But since returning from India two years ago with a non-verbal two year old son, I re-entered America Land and felt like it would be silly to continue speaking Hindi with my child because we were always living with family. Some stupid voice inside me kept saying, “Family will feel left out if you interact in another language with the beloved grandson. Just don’t.”
So two years passed and now I have a two year old daughter who has never heard Hindi, and a four year old son who is now familiar with English only, even though he started out listening to Hindi and English on a daily basis. I felt like I was powerless to contribute to my children’s bilingual development because I was “no longer in a place to do that well”.
Now I’m finally in a place where I feel doing it poorly/sub-par is better than not doing it at all for several reasons…
- My kids are still very young (age 4 and 2). Before age 7 is the optimal range for children to pick up second language naturally. (That doesn’t mean “It’s now or NEVER” but it does mean I’m making it easier for them in the future if/when they want to continue and go deeper into Hindi later in life)
- I have another baby on the way. I want this new baby to be born in a bilingual family atmosphere (my husband also speaks Hindi/Urdu) and get those bilingual brain benefits.
- I CAN DO IT and I am the best language teacher for MY children. The way I speak to them and the frequency and style of my verbal interaction are significant and uniquely helpful to their linguistic development. Not to mention I know them better than any tutor/native speaker/Language Mama I could hire.
- I will find/make Hindi language resources that will help others. Christine and I want to make this website a nexus for ideal children’s language resources. Anything I can find or create will outlive its usefulness for my family, but benefit other families trying to learn Hindi later on. “Don’t reinvent the wheel” is a phrase that comes to mind.
And that’s why I will be beginning a month of everyday Hindi with my kids. I will be using our Language Mama Planner and following the schedule and directions to the letter, and see how well it works for my own context! As I go, I will post the videos I’m making and tools I find helpful. I will journal my efforts put into this experiment here, as well as post reactions my children are having.
Visit soon for my next post as I begin our first week of Language Mama Hindi!