Our girls grow up bilingual; Dutch and German. We follow a basic rule which seems to work pretty well: “One person, one language”. They speak Dutch with mummy, German with daddy.
The girls can’t read yet, but books take an important place in our house. I did notice though that our book shelves were filled with Dutch books, and that just a few German books were added. Here’s how we deal with it now (and it works wonderful):
- In need of a wish list for a birthday? We ask friends and family to give their favorite child book – in their language. That’s how we pumped up our German books shelves with the most wonderful stories every German child should know (and which I didn’t know).
- When I read in the evenings, I only read in my language. Do the girls want one particular German book? Then I translate while reading. I stick to the rule which says that every person has their language. Guests in our house are always invited by the girls to read – in their own language.
- When they do love a particular German book, I now look on amazon to find out what books other readers bought together with this book. That seems to work perfect.
- We love Tiptoi! Having two girls, they both have a Tiptoi pen. You can get the books in different languages (German, Dutch, French, Italian, Russian), and that way it’s just the perfect tool for bilingual toddlers who deal with these languages.