"It is not only about language, but also about culture"

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

Profile: Anke and her two children, Victor (8) and Carla (4)
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Native language of the children: French
Language learned with Mom: German

1. What is your favorite activity with Victor and Carla that helps them learn German?

We live right now in Ukraine. With a group of parents we set-up a French and German cultural center, where parents get together and have fun exposing our children to different activities in French and German. It is not only about language, but about culture overall. It is a good way for me to expose them to German culture, although we do not live there. For example, what we eat for breakfast is very different in France and Germany. So we organized a breakfast in French, and one in German. The kids have fun.

2. What have you discovered recently that helps a lot?

Victor is a fan of Tintin comic books. So I bought them in German for him. I like to read the traditional tales in German. We also like to play board games, like "Mensch aergere dich nicht". Finally, our kids do regularly visit their grand-parents in Berlin, where they are exposed to real German environment and culture.

3. What is your #1 challenge? How do you try to overcome it?

Teaching grammar. German grammar is not easy and requires a lot of patience. I buy German schoolbooks to teach it. Still, it is not easy. How do you teach it in an engaging way? How can I be a “figure of authority” and keep their attention?

4. What tip or advice do you want to share with other parents?

Have 1 language associated with 1 parent. I speak in German to the children, and my husband Karl speaks in French.

5. Do you have any question you would like to ask other parents?
Yes. Does anyone have a pleasant or fun way to teach kids grammar and writing skills in a foreign language ?