“Learning a 2nd language: I know my children will be thankful later on”

The 5 Questions: How do you inspire your children to learn a 2nd language?

Profile: Joel and son Pascal (8) and daughter Alina (6)
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Main language: German
Language learned with Dad: English

What is your favorite activity that helps your Pascal and Alina learn English?

I enjoy reading stories to Alina in English. My parenting language is English. So any games we play with Pascal and Alina are in English.

What is a helpful tool you use?

YouTube and Google are great tools we use to explain things in English. The other day Alina had a question about clouds and how rain is formed. I did not have a good answer that came to mind. So we searched on YouTube and found a video in English that explains it.

What is your #1 challenge? What helps in overcoming this challenge?

Airtime. 90% of the time they are in a German environment, at school, with friends, with my wife Hana who only uses German with them.

Having my Mom over helps. She speaks only in English to them. We might also find a bilingual school to have things more balanced between the two languages.

Any tip or advice you have for other parents?

Just do it. Make the commitment to do it, even if you do not have much airtime. I was raised with 3 languages and loved it. Games are also important. Playing games makes it easier for the kids to have a desire to learn and practice a language.

What keeps you going?

Knowing how beneficial it is to learn languages early, and knowing also the kids will be thankful later on, once they understand the benefit.