“I made reading with Maya in French a habit”

The 5 Questions: How do you inspire your child to learn a new language?

Profile: Stephane and 4-year old daughter Maya
Location: New York
Language Maya learns with Dad: French

What is your favorite activity that helps Maya learn French?

Reading at night before going to bed. I made it a habit and now Maya looks forward to it every time. She often wants a 2nd and a 3rd story, and we spend 20mn together, me reading stories in French to her.

What is a helpful tool you use?

YouTube helps me when Maya learns a new word. For example, the other night I read a storybook that had an air balloon, “montgolfiere” in French. It was a new word for Maya. The next day, we watched together a short YouTube video in French that showed air balloons.

What is your #1 challenge?

Having Maya answer in French instead of English when I talk to her. For over 2 years Maya would answer 95% of the time in English, 5% in French. But over the last few months, the proportion of French started increasing to around 80% of her answers now.

What helps in overcoming this challenge?

Persistence. My friends who were in similar situations before me just said: continue what you are doing, do not to give up.

Any tip or advice you have for other parents?

Use your family to help you. Having Maya interact with her grandparents in France via skype helps a lot. Also when my father came over to New York for 2 weeks, I told him to speak exclusively in French. I believe Maya now realizes that speaking in French is not so “unusual”.