How I Made My Kid Start Speaking French at Home
Living in Korea, disconnected from the French language, my daughter “Alice” (a pseudonym to protect her privacy) has always had a strong connection with French through me and our family, whom we contact via phone or video calls.
From the beginning, I’ve always told her stories in French, and her comprehension was good. She could understand everything I said. I also continued to create a French environment at home by exclusively exposing her to French cartoons when watching TV and maintaining our nightly tradition of French storytelling. These combined efforts have helped me turn what was once a challenge into a natural part of our daily lives.
The Struggle to Communicate
However, the real challenge was her speaking abilities. Though she understood French perfectly, she couldn’t articulate a single word. Even when I asked her to repeat a sentence, it was as if she couldn’t say it.
I tried many methods, some more forceful than others. Forcing her to speak or read in French led to frustration on both sides. I felt helpless and lost, unable to find the right approach to connect with her through the language I love. The frustration grew as I saw her struggle under the constraints I had imposed.
A New Approach
To help her communicate in French, I implemented what might seem like a “bargaining” system: if Alice spoke to me in Korean, she would have to read a page in French. Initially, she perceived this system as a constraint. However, a surprising transformation occurred. Alice rapidly forgot the initial discomfort and began speaking naturally in French throughout the day. It was as if the system had unlocked a door within her, allowing her to express herself freely in French.
The Importance of Patience and Persistence
This method required teaching Alice to read in French, a task that involved listening to her read and correcting her at every mistake. It was a meticulous process but one that fostered a deeper connection with the language.
Reflecting on this journey, I realize the importance of patience and persistence in teaching a child a new language. What began as a frustrating and seemingly fruitless endeavor turned into a rewarding experience. I learned that flexibility, creativity, and empathy were key in helping Alice embrace the French language.
Our journey is still unfolding, and I’m thrilled to share our experiences with you all. The ups and downs, the trials and errors, have taught me invaluable lessons about parenting and education. Stay tuned for more posts on our adventures in learning French together!