Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: 2015


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Learning All About Ants in Spanish. Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop - December 2015

If your kids are learning Spanish, then these wonderful activities are for you! Help your child to learn everything about ants by making it fun. You could sing a song about ants in Spanish, watch video, play some games (free printables are available), read books. Recommended "Arriba, Abajo y Alrededor" book looks very interesting. Read more about my pick from November's Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop here.

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time! Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.
This month our co-hosts are:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Non-native Speaker Raising Bilingual Children. Interview with Christine Jernigan, the author of "Family Language Learning" book.

Can a parent successfully pass a non-native language on to a child? - Absolutely! Christine Jernigan, the author of "Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children" book , is one of those parents. She is a non native speaker of Portuguese and raises her two children bilingually from birth. If you have doubts whether this is doable, perhaps you are worried about your accent, than read on!


Question 1: Where do you live?  How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Answer : Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.   I have a daughter who is 13 and a son who is 11.


Question 2: Please describe your family language situation. Who speaks what language? What language strategy do you follow?

Answer :  We do One Parent One Language (also called One Person One Language). My husband speaks English to the children, and I speak Portuguese. (My husband understands Portuguese fairly well after hearing it for 13 years, but he does not speak it.) When we are all four together, we tend to speak English unless the children are directly addressing me (or I, them). We switch naturally from English to Portuguese using eye contact as our cue. I discuss this swapping of languages in the book "Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children"

The most common technique we use is that of "false monolingual strategy." This means that I act as if I only speak Portuguese, even though I speak English as a native language. Speaking exclusively in the language was the only way I felt they could attain fluency with me being the only speaker of Portuguese at home. If they say something in English to me, I do not respond.

However, if they are lost and cannot remember a word, I use the strategy of "feeding" in which I offer the first syllable of the word they need. Most of the time, they can then supply the rest.

This doesn't have to be as oppressive as it may sound. I can remember times when we've laughed about it, because, of course, the kids know by now that I speak English. Recently James (my son) tossed some keys to me and said in English, "Catch!" I let the keys fall to the ground as if I had heard nothing. It was funny because it was so ridiculous. I picked them up and looked perplexed. In Portuguese, I asked him, "Was I supposed to catch these?" That way he had the word "catch" in his vocabulary and could use it next time he needed it.

Question 3. When and how did you acquired the languages you speak?

Answer : I learned a little French from high school and college. I went to Wake Forest University and it had a strong French program. Unfortunately, I was not a strong student of the strong program, but enough rubbed off that I was able to do their study abroad. Looking back, I spent time with my American friends and English speaking boyfriend and spoke French very little. At this point, I can get by in a French-speaking country, but don't have conversations.

Portuguese, I started learning the semester after college when I went to the interior of Brazil to teach English. There weren’t many English speakers around, so I had to learn fast. I studied this grammar book I bought in the States and read through my pocket Portuguese-English dictionary late at night. I was highly motivated because I wanted to understand the jokes and conversations of the people I spent time with. I was there 6 months and was able to converse, though probably with heaps of mistakes. In the book I talk about some embarrassing stuff I said in those days.

I went back to Brazil a couple of years later and taught English in a Pan American School. Spent a lot of time with Americans but still managed to learn some Portuguese. At this point I would say I'm fluent, but that it's obvious I'm a foreigner from my accent and grammar mistakes, though the errors don't interfere with comprehension.

Question 4: Do you think parents, who are not fluent in a foreign language (pronounce some words wrong, speak that language with an accent and make grammatical errors), are able to teach children that language from birth and speak it exclusively with them?

Answer :  I definitely think even parents who just know some of the language can teach it to their children successfully. From early on, it's good for parents to think about what they hope to accomplish and what's realistic. If they don't feel they can become fluent in the language, then they can shoot for exposing their children to the language. What's great is that in giving children that exposure, parents are learning themselves, such that there's a building process. Parents become more adept in the language as they read to their children, for example. They are able to read more complex books the more they practice with the simple ones.

Parents may also find that learning a foreign language isn't as painful as they assumed it would be. So many people judge language learning by the torture they faced in high school and college. These classes don't always have students using real language. The words parents will find in children's songs or books are the vocabulary they need to interact with kids. The authenticity of the language makes it stick. It's so relevant that it motivates parents to keep learning.

Question 5: How about passing a language if a parent has an accent? Will be the accent passed on as well? Or is there a way to avoid it?

Answer : I would say that I really don't see accent as an issue, as long as it doesn't interfere with comprehension. So in my case, sure, I have an accent in Portuguese. But I have an accent in English, too, actually-- I'm from Nashville, TN, after all.

When I took my kids to Brazil, they were able to play with Brazilians. If they said words differently, they may have been corrected, but it was never anything discouraging, just very matter of fact.

I tell parents not to worry about their accent in the second language. I suggest they do what they can so that native speakers will understand them. (I list many ways of how to accomplish this in the book, but basically things like watching movies in the second language and listening to music from the target country).

Question 6: From my experience reading books everyday is essential for building strong vocabulary in the minority language. What kind of language learning activities did you find the most productive with your kids?

Answer : Wow, I wouldn't say "every day" because that's pretty restrictive. It's like telling someone on a diet they can never eat cake. If you take out the "always" and "nevers," people stay more motivated because they feel less bossed around.

(NOTE from Raising a Trilingual Child): Sure, reading everyday might not be always possible, but this is what a parent, and especially a minority language speaking parent, should try to do. If parents are able to set the right routine, kids would crave for books. My kids just do not want to go to bed without reading at least a short story. The only compromise they will accept from me is listening to my own story. )

That being said, we did read a lot of children's books. And we reread them too because it's not easy to find Portuguese children's books. Sometimes I would just use books in English and tell the story in Portuguese. We used Richard Scarry's Fun with Words book where the kids point to interesting things they see and I say it in Portuguese.

As far as activities that were most helpful for us, I'd say learning songs and nursery rhymes in Portuguese. I found a neat book of songs and rhymes that had a CD. (scroll all the way down to see the language resources) That way, I could listen to it alongside the kids and pick up the songs. Then we'd sing them around the house, in the car, etc. I always had children's CDs in the car that had fun Portuguese songs on it. Story books also helped because they loved to be read to -- it didn't matter the language. And just doing everyday things in Portuguese -- getting dressed, eating breakfast, playing Candy Land. What I try to get across in Family Language Learning is that your house doesn't have to become a school. You just live your life and do it in the second language.

Question 7: When you just started speaking Portuguese to your first child, were you able to stick to it all the time?

Answer :  In the beginning, in fact, with my first child, she was better in Portuguese than English in some areas. My son was the second child and my daughter ended up speaking English to him-- she was in preschool by the time he was old enough to speak. Had there been a Portuguese preschool, I definitely would have had her in there.

What's funny is that Portuguese became our language such that it felt fake to speak in English. I've talked about this with other bilingual parents and I'm not alone. It's as if you choose a language with your child and it's awkward to speak to each other in a language other than that chosen language. Imagine if you're learning Spanish and your best friend is too. So you get together and are talking about your Spanish classes, you might try speaking some Spanish together, but it feels strange because you've already chosen English as the language that holds that relationship.

Question 8: What language did your bilingual children start speaking first?

Answer : They spoke first in Portuguese probably b/c I was home with them so they heard me more than my English-speaking husband. It freaked out one of my relatives to the point that when I would say something to my daughter, he would repeat it loudly in English. When they went to preschool, their English became stronger.

Question 9: Some parents are concerned that if their child is exposed to two languages, he/she will be a late talker. Did your children experience any speech and language delays? What would you say to stop parents believing in this myth?

Answer :  It's funny because I was speaking about this at a Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) conference I attended last week. The delay is very little. It's less than the delay boys have from girls in language development. What I've seen happen is that the child stays at home with a parent who is teaching the second language. The child hears more of that language and becomes stronger in that language. Then along comes the grandparents who don't speak that second language and they are frustrated at not being able to communicate as much as they feel they should. Pressure is often put upon the parents to change their language plan so that English will be the stronger language.

What should happen, in my opinion, is that parents feel confident enough to explain to Grandma and Grandpa that as soon as little Suzy starts preschool, English will become her stronger language

Question 10: When you departed on your bilingual family journey, what was the goal for your children's Portuguese language fluency? Were you able to achieve it? What was the most important element in achieving it?

Answer :  I feel like I've met my goals in speaking. However with reading and writing, I would like my children to be more proficient. They do some homeschooling every school morning. Just 5 minutes or so of work that I correct and have follow up questions about. They can send a text message in Portuguese or leave me a note on the fridge saying where they are going. They understand if I give them a to-do note or a grocery list. They do not read on their own in Portuguese. I think if they take Portuguese in college, however, they will do more of this and will feel much more confident at it than their non-Portuguese speaking colleagues will.


Question 11: Some non-native language speaking parents report difficulty in dealing with disciplinary issues due to the vocabulary limitation. When kids are small the parents response time is very crucial. A child may get hurt while you are looking up a word in a dictionary. How were you handling this situation?

Answer :  I should be clear in saying that if your child's safety is at stake, you the parent should speak whichever language comes out first. I think you will find, however, that if you get in the habit of speaking the second language, it will feel odd to speak in English.

I would also encourage parents to learn well words like, "Be careful!" "It's hot!" "Don't touch," and "Stop!"

Question 12: How would you encourage non-native language speaking parents to launch on this wonderful adventure of raising bilingual children in non-native language and give them the precious gift of languages?

Answer :  There are so many benefits I could list-- so many reasons why learning another language makes sense and helps your child. But the one I've found most important is that you'll spend more time with your child. You'll talk more, listen more, and spend more time together reading books and listening to music. You'll have a code that other parents and kids don't share.

I asked several moms and dads what they would say to other parents interested in speaking another language to their children. Here are two of their responses:

When he was born, I worried “How will I potty train him in French?” then “How will I prepare him for the arrival of his little sister?” etc., but then it just happened fine. Now I try and foresee us discussing the facts of life in French, when he's older, or talking about girlfriends, drugs, drinking, etc., and it's hard to imagine, but it may all just happen naturally...we're both learning! (M.G., email interview)

Be persistent! A majority of children and young kids will be stubborn. They don’t see the point in learning a language they won’t be able to speak at school or with their friends. Only when they start to mature or develop will they see the usefulness and worth in knowing two language. Their lives will only be benefited by it. (H.G., email interview)

I would like to thank Christine for the interview and encouragement! Click here "Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children" to view this book on Amazon.

If you would like to share your family experience,  whatever it is good or bad,  feel free to contact me

Are you successfully raising bilingual or multilingual children? or do you have regrets about something you have not done on time? Please do not keep it for yourself, share it with other parents, by writing a comment or by contacting me for an Interview or by joining great contributors in the Life Story series. You will help thousands of readers!


Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
In so many different languages !


Best Children's Books in Russian

List of Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. 


List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci  


19 Best Websites with FREE Audio books and Stories in English for Kids


"Songs from a Journey with a Parrot" 
Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from Portugal and Brazil in Portuguese with English translation + music CD



9 Steps of Raising a Bilingual Child Successfully. How to Start So You Don't Feel Giving It Up Halfway Through.

Q & A: How to pass on two non-native languages to a child?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

“Спокойно, СКУБИ-ДУ!” и розыгрыш подарочной карты на 6500 рублей! - “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” and Gift card giveaway!

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!

I am not sure who is more excited I am or my kids that Scooby Dooooooooooooooooooooo is here again! More (14 new episodes!), New and Cool!

“Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” is the new series of the cartoon kids from around the world love so much. Scooby-Doo! is one of those classics that stand the test of time and now has a refreshed look of mystery squad and a new comedy twist. 
Спокойно, Скуби-Ду! 

Скуби-Ду и местическая команда снова на экранах! Наконец-то появился долгожданний новый мультсериал о неугомонном и немного трусливом Скуби-Ду и в России!

Спокойно, Скуби-Ду! порадует детей и родителей новым комическим сюжетом и свежей прорисовкой героев мистической команды.

You can watch the new series on a cartoon TV channel ( Cartoon Network or Boomerang) in your country.

Also Warner Bros. set up the WBKids channel on youtube that makes it easy for your kids to watch their favorite mystery squad whenever they want it.

The website is multilingual! It comes in several languages: English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German. It has videos, games to play and printable activities to download.

I find this website is great for English language learners. Your child will have no problem to navigate the website and read Scooby-Doo! Comics.

Great way to celebrate the premier with the Warner Bros. by participating in this giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win 6500 RUB gift card from RUSSIAN online store Ulmart and invite your Russian friends to enter too! Giveaway is open to legal residents of Russia who are 18 years or older.

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

The results will be published on this page after December, 6 2015. Click here to bookmark the page. 

Good Luck!

Смотри “Спокойно, Скуби-Ду!”  c 28 ноября на канале Бумеранг в России. 

Но общение с героями мультсериала не заканчивается только просмотром самого мультфильма. В  любой момент вы можите заглянуть на Warner Bros Скуби-Ду сайт чтобы еще раз увидеть полюбившихся героев, поиграть в игры, распечатать интересные занимательные материалы для детей включая раскраски, загрузить обои для телефона, планшнта и компьютера или попрактиковать английский и почитать комикс.

А на канале  the WBKids channel   на Youtube , Скуби-Ду и друзья готовы вас рассмешить 24/7. Просмотр комических эпизодов возможен с любого устройства. 

И что еще лучше, можно посмотреть мультфильм про Скуби-Ду! и выиграть приз  - подарочную карту на 6500 рублей от интернет-магазина “Юлмарт”.

Для участия войдите  в форму Rafflecopter , что найдете ниже, со своим адресом электронной почты или через Фэйсбук. Розыгрыш открыт резидентам России от 18 лет и старше. 

Имя побелителя вы узнаете заглянув на сайт после 6 декабря 2015.

Нажми сюда, чтобы добавить страницу в закладки поисковика.


На входной форме ниже (если не видна, следуйте по ссылке), нажмите на кнопку "F log in", чтобы войти через Фэйсбук или на кнопку "Use Your Email" - через электронную почту (вам всего лишь надо указать адрес почты и ваше имя- паролей вводить не надо) и следуйте указаниям. Каждое выполненое задание, например, зайти на скуби сайт, увеличивает ваши шансы выиграть подарочную карту на 6500 руб! Удачи!  a Rafflecopter giveaway Форма

This is a sponsored giveaway. Rules can be found directly on the Rafflecopter form. All images are provided by HireInfluence Inc.
Розыгрыш осуществляется при спонсорской поддержке. Правила указаны в Rafflecopter форме. 

Are you raising bilingual or multilingual children?

Browse this website to find more information on how to do it. Language Strategies Page is the great place to start with.

Click here, if you are looking for great books to read to your Russian speaking kids. 

For English language learners:

9 great websites with FREE audiobooks for children in English.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Q&A: Should a Parent Stop Speaking one language and Switch to another one?


Should a parent of a 2,5 years old bilingual child switch the languages to reinforce a third one (English)? Question from a trilingual Greek- French- English mother living in Montreal Canada with her French Canadian husband and bilingual Greek-French child.


Thank you so much for your website, I have definitely learned a lot by reading your articles.

Our son is a little over 2 and a half years old and I stay at home with him. We live in Montreal Canada, so our country is predominantly English but our city is very French. I am of Greek origin, but I am perfectly trilingual in Greek, French and English, with the latter being my main language. I have decided to speak to my son exclusively in Greek. My husband is French Canadian and we had decided early on that he would speak to him only in French. At this point my son speaks Greek and French and does not confuse the 2 languages. I am happy about this, however, I am starting to worry about his English language skills. He does not seem to understand English and definitely does not speak it, but it is extremely important for me that he do so. His books, TV, are only in English and my husband and I decided to only speak to English to each other for maximum exposure. The issue is that the school system here is French. We have decided to send him to a Greek elementary school, but it is still 70% French, 20% Greek, and 10% English. However, the English program is very advanced as I found out that most children of Greek parents are only learning English at home and therefore they are all fluent in English by the time they start elementary school. My family is very Greek/ English and my husband's very French, and our friends are 50% / 50%. I am now rethinking our choice of languages...should my husband be speaking to my son in English instead of French? What can we do to make sure he is very fluent in English?

Thank you so much for your help,



Hi Christina,

I am glad you found the material on the website useful.

You are absolutely right to rethink your trilingual family strategy. Your goal is and should be to support the minority languages at home. In your son's case those languages are English and Greek. He will receive plenty of exposure to French later at school.

Have you already talked to your husband about switching the languages? The solution that you proposed yourself is the best in your situation.

If your husband is willing to switch to speaking English exclusively, he would need to transition to it very slow (!). After reaching milestones in one language a child transfers whatever he learned to another one. You want to avoid taking away the language your child might have progressed in more. At this age you can not really say which language is the main language for a child, especially when the language input is about the same in both languages, such that they develop in parallel. During this transition make sure that your child has enough French language input from somewhere else. For instance, from a kindergarten. The transition needs to be smooth allowing for developing all three languages. Still speaking French, start from building some basic vocabulary in English and then use the learned words in the sentences. Translate them, if you feel your child does not understand what you say. Your goal is eventually to reach the full immersion.

Since your child has been already exposed to English, by listening you and your husband speaking to each other, he should have the necessary base and would feel comfortable speaking English in a relatively short time. Read the article about children’ passive language learning.

Your husband might need help of a toy. You could introduce an English speaking toy-friend to your son. Just get a new toy and tell your child that it speaks and understand only one language - English. You could even make a story about this toys previous life before getting to your home. My kids love when I talk for toys, it is a lot of fun for them. Kids love structure, it helps them to separate the languages, and they are more willing to accept a toy speaking some different language than a parent.

In case your husband does not feel comfortable completely switching to speaking English ( I am talking about the long run. You still would need to proceed as described above), he could speak both languages. This is a common strategy bilingual parents use when would like to pass on both languages to a child. He could alternate the languages daily or weekly or bi-weekly depending what suits best in your particular family situation.

Let me know if you have more question.

My best wishes for your family trilingual journey:)

Best Regards,

Are you bringing up a bilingual or multilingual child or are you a parent to be and have a question? 

Read other parents' questions and my answers in Multilingual Family Q&A Series

Feel free to contact me. Use "Q&A" in the subject line.

For privacy protection I can change your name and omit some personal details, if you wish. 

Are you a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language? Click here to find it now!

You might also like:

Multilingual Family Language Strategies.

Bilingualism and speech delay. How can you help? 

When should you start teaching your child to read? Plus, 7 great tips

Exposing our kids to languages - Learn about our family language strategy and read great questions and answers in the article's comments.   

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings.  

How to read to a toddler? Advice for parents of monolingual, bilingual or multilingual children. 

Advantages and disadvantages of raising a trilingual child.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Children's Books for the Day of the Dead. Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop - November 2015

If your kids languages are English and Spanish you might be interested in this wonderful children’s book selection for Day of the Dead - Día de Muertos (in Spanish) put together by Leanna from “All done monkey”. This is my pick from October’s Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop.

Day of the Dead - Día de Muertos (in Spanish) is celebrated in Mexico on the 1st and 2nd of November. In many other countries people visit the graves of their deceased loved ones and remember them during the same period. In Italy the All Souls' Day ( Commemorazione dei defunti in Italian) is celebrated on November 2. However, in Mexico this festivity is more like a celebration full of joy. It is believed that this day dead people are coming back to be again with their relatives and to take the gifts of their favorite food and drinks.

Skuls (calacas) and skeletons (calaveras) are symbols of the Day of the Dead and can be found pretty much everywhere. They could be depicted on people's faces, be part of a costume or even edible, such  as sweets.

I am sure your kids would enjoy reading and learning more about other culture.  

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time! Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.

This month our co-hosts are:
Russian Step by Step for Children on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Crafty Moms Share
Crazy Little Family Adventure
Castle View Academy
La Cité des Vents
Los Gringos Locos
Russian Step by Step for Children
Peakle Pie
Raising a Trilingual Child

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Thank you for linking-up, and we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

My previous picks:


Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
In so many different languages !


Best Children's Books in Russian

List of Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. 


List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci  


19 Best Websites with FREE Audio books and Stories in English for Kids

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Q & A: How to pass on two non-native languages to a child?

Question from an English speaking father and English, Danish and Norwegian speaking mother on how to pass on the two non-native languages - Danish and Norwegian - to their soon-to-be-born child.


Hi there,

I am so glad I found your website! I have just had a great read and found it really useful. I wanted to ask your advice about my current situation, and how best to proceed.

I am 11 weeks pregnant, and am lucky enough to be a very gifted linguist. I lived in Norway for a summer as a 12 year old, after teaching myself the language from a book (neglected child, left to own devices, very inquisitive, and I was quite good at entertaining myself in an educational way rather than being naughty and running riot!) When I spent that summer in Norway my language-lessons before the trip prepared me to do really well in the 6 weeks I lived with a friend's family, and I picked up the local accent. I am now 31, still have that accent, and did all the talking when we holidayed there in July this year - perfectly understood by everyone there. So I guess I "still have it". :)

In the last two years I have also learned Danish. I am not as proficient, I feel, in Danish - I just "do" Norwegian without thinking, and sometimes mix up words by accident when speaking Danish, and Danes always ask me if I am actually Norwegian, because my accent sticks out massively. That said, my Danish is much improved and I have a few books I can read in both languages to get myself even better in both in the coming months. I also still have the original Norwegian book I learned from, so I can brush up on grammar etc in no time.

I have been online and looked for children's books in both languages, and as expensive as they are, I am able to get some kids' books shipped out. I also have a Danish friend who is able to help me out by perusing his local thrift stores for me. I also watch a lot of Danish TV/box sets, and can work on my spoken Danish over time, so I sound less like a Norwegian imposter ;)

I adore both languages, but Norwegian seems to be my stronger, given that I learned it rather young, and have had it "sitting in my head for the last two decades". Living in the UK, children learn French, Spanish and/or German at school, so as well as I can speak those three, I want to avoid them, as it is a skill any children of ours will learn anyway at some point in their schooling. My husband is 100% supportive of raising bilingual/trilingual children, and as he loved Norway when we visited this year, and he saw me do the talking first hand, he's happy with that. My love of Danish keeps nagging at me, and my issue is how to go about trying both. My husband will speak English to our children, but with Norwegian and Danish being so similar, and both coming out of my mouth, I don't know if it is best to stick with one, or split my time between the two.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated and welcomed! Before I go buying the wrong kind of books if I shouldn't be getting both! :)

Thank you very much,

Sarah and Dave, UK


Hi Sarah,

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I think it is wonderful that you and your husband would like to raise a bilingual or even a trilingual child.

I am impressed by your linguistic abilities. There are not many teenagers, who are able to learn a language on their own from books as you did.

I am sure the qualities that helped you to learn Norwegian and Danish will also help you to pass on these languages to your child.

Passing on a language takes a lot of effort and commitment on parents side, especially when they are alone on this journey. Since you were not raised bilingually from birth and do not have a deep attachment to those languages, I would advise you to start by picking one language first , either Danish or Norwegian, and stick to it for several years ( about 3) until your child masters speaking in it. Then add a third language.

I would choose Danish as a language to start with first because you have a friend who can help you and also because you need more time to work on your pronunciation ( as you say). When you add a second language, you will not have time to work on it, but you could work on your vocabulary though. This way you will be able to master both languages while teaching them to your child. Learning together is a lot of fun. It would be great if you could involve your husband too!

From what you wrote it is not clear if you are willing to switch to Norwegian or Danish completely following one parent one language (OPOL) strategy , or you’d like to also speak English to your child. I’d like to note that the full language immersion brings best results and it would be better to stick to minority language only.

When your child is born you will feel overwhelmed with emotions. You will recollect your childhood memories, the children's songs and lullabies that your parents sung you. Do not stop yourself from singing them to your child. Just find some lullabies in Danish / Norwegian and sing them too. Singing is good for developing early phonemic awareness.

It is good that you already checked for the second language books availability. Try to locate other Danish or Norwegian language speakers in your area. If you do not find anyone in your town, consider looking for communities in a big city nearby. Check if someone offers private lessons or if there is a weekend language school. This will give you a peace of mind that you can get a support if you ever need it.

Other questions you would need to consider:

How would you handle languages “at the table”? What language would you speak to your bilingual child when you are all together? Read about my experience to give you an idea.

What language would you speak to your bilingual child in public? You will find my answer in the same named article: What language should I speak to my child in public? - Multilingual parent dilemma.

You should also consider giving your child an opportunity to play with Danish speaking peers. Best would be to find someone living nearby. If not possible, you could plan a relaxing vacation in Denmark/ Norway , where you could visit interactive museums and playgrounds.

Read also the 9 steps of raising a bilingual child successfully, where I cover most important points and give some helpful tips.

Good luck on your multilingual journey!

Best Regards,

Are you bringing up a bilingual or multilingual child or are you a parent to be and have a question? 

Read other parents questions and my answers in Multilingual Family Q&A Series

Feel free to contact me. Use "Q&A" in the subject line.

For privacy protection I can change your name and omit some personal details, if you wish. 

Are you a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language? Click here to find it now!

You might also like:

Non-native Speaker Raising Bilingual Children. Interview with Christine Jernigan, the author of "Family Language Learning" book.

Multilingual Family Language Strategies.

Bilingualism and speech delay. How can you help? 

Exposing our kids to languages - Learn about our family language strategy and read great questions and answers in the article's comments.   

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings.  

How to read to a toddler? Advice for parents of monolingual, bilingual or multilingual children. 

Advantages and disadvantages of raising a trilingual child.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10 Must Read Parenting Books for Raising Multicultural kids. Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop - October 2015

This is my first time to host the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop and I jump right into presenting my post choice to you! Do you want to know what are the 10 Must Read Parenting Books for Raising Multicultural Kids? - Find a link to the book list below!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Trigger Your Child’s Curiosity About Other Countries with Pacca Alpaca Travel Playtime App

Traveling is great!  Visiting other countries and learning about other cultures is what I enjoy the most. Sadly since our family increased we slowed down on our attempts of going abroad. The tickets and hotel prices bite when you have to plan a trip for four.

Hey! No bad comes without good. The ruble collapsed (so sorry for my friends living in Russia) and we booked a plane to our minority language home country!  My kids were super excited and started putting together a list of what they wanted to see and do in St Petersburg.

Would you imagine that 3 and 5 years olds are able to make a list on their own?
Apparently the learning activities we have been doing gave them ideas of what they should do and see.

You can not just open a city guide and start reading it to your child. Whatever knowledge my kids had about the city they were going to for the first time, came in bits and pieces from what they have heard, seen, read to.

Pacca Alpaca - Travel Playtime App , that I was asked to review, can help you to trigger your kid’s curiosity in learning about other countries and cultures. There are 23 countries presented and more will be added in the future.

Best learning comes when kids have fun, right?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

21 + Best places to visit in St Petersburg, Russia with KIDS. Grouped by location for easy trip planning.

Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? If not, keep on reading and start planning your next trip!

St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia, with the big old center cut by multiple canals and by Neva river, and connected back with a multitude of beautiful historic bridges.

Some call the city a northern Venice for the amount of water that surrounds it.

It is definitely a romantic destination for couples, but I would not rule out visiting it with kids and enjoying the city's beauty all together as a family.

That’s exactly what I did with my almost 4 and 6 years old kids this summer.

St Petersburg, the cradle of my childhood, how much has you changed! Who could imagine that the city with the golden domed skyline has to offer even more fun things for kids to see and explore. We did our best to see them all.

Since most of the things to see in St-Petersburg are located in the city center, I would like to start by showing you parts of the city that you probably won’t see.

Those are the typical houses and playground far from the center. (If interested, I write more about this playground here)

Every year more and more tall modern buildings pop up here and there.

I am glad that St. Petersburg is able to preserve the historic uniformity and style of the old beautiful center. By walking on the streets in the heart of the city, you can feel the history all around, the past and the present living side by side, historic facades reflecting in shiny store windows, cars zooming by the old cathedrals and palaces, boats on canals and rivers.

You see old beautiful buildings attached one to another. You might think that kids, who live in the center have no playgrounds. They do! They are hidden from the public eye inside of the internal squares.

And if you are curious about schools, this is a typical school building in the city’s suburbs. It is very simple and very functional.

To really enjoy the city I strongly recommend you to look for a hotel or a room to rent in the historic center close to Nevsky prospekt.

Look at the map that I have created for you with the attractions grouped by area so you will have an easy time with planning your accommodation and your day.

Here is the list of the best places in St Petersburg to visit together with kids that everyone in your family will enjoy:

1. Peter and Paul Fortress

I would choose this citadel of St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as the first place to visit.
Besides the multiple museums located in the fortress walls and the magnificent view on the Neva embankment that you can see from there, this place provides plenty of space for kids to run around and get their energy out. Great destination especially after a day passed in an airport and on a plane.

Other things to see nearby the Peter and Paul Fortress:

2. The Military­-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps

or simply referred to as the Artillery Museum. This was one of my favorite when I was a child, as there was a possibility to see all sorts of military machines inside. At the time of our visit many cannons and artillery in front of the museum were open to public and kids could touch and climb on - a sure entertainment. There is also a TIR (airsoft gun firing range - place to shoot in targets, open to kids and adults), where you have a choice of different firearms.

3.“Mini St.Petersburg” in bronze in Alexander Park

A real fun for kids! The bronze models of historical buildings are presented in 1:30 scale. They are pretty much have the same height as the kids.

4. The Lenindradsky Zoo

is one of the oldest zoos in Russia (founded in 1865), is also nearby. A great destination for kids who have never seen native to Russia animals: brown and white polar bears, foxes , wolves …

Leningrad Zoo St Petersburg Russia

5. Aurora cruiser

is a ship-museum that was built in 1900. It has undergone restorations and is expected to be returned to Petrogradskaya embankment in 2016.

When you walk around this part of town, you might notice two blue minarets. It is a St. Petersburg Mosque that was opened in 1913. It almost always closed and opens only for a short time during prayer times.


6. The Hermitage 
is the amazing museum that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. It is huge! It occupies the Winter Palace building, which was a residence of the Russian emperors, and several other historical buildings. Even if you spend there an entire day, you won't be able to see everything!

So plan ahead based on your family’s interests. You can get a good idea what can be seen there by visiting the hermitage website.

Expect spending some time just enjoying the gorgeous building inside , appreciating world famous artists (Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Renoir to name a few) , who lived in a period from 15th century to nowadays, and learning more about other cultures.
Some highlights: 18th-century golden Peacock Clock, the Egyptian mummy that older kids would definitely would like to see, the knights hall.

7. The Russian museum

This could be be a good alternative, if you decide to postpone your trip to the Hermitage to the next time. It is smaller and it’s main focus on the Russian art from folk to modern (think Repin, Shishkin etc)

The state Russian museum Petersburg

What else is nearby:

8. Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood 

Is so magnificent that I would not miss it and show it to your kids! The church contains over 7000 square meters of mosaic! It is covered in little pieces of stone from the floor up to the dome.

Before the trip, try to prepare your child at home by offering an activity of creating a picture with little pieces of colored paper. It will help him/her appreciate what s/he sees.

Church the savior on the spilled blood Petersburg Russia

9. The Summer Garden

is an old park (1704), where you could take a break from sightseeing. Let your kids run along the alleys from a fountain to a fountain in a search for a small playground hidden inside the park! Let me know if you find it:)

If you have been to this park before, you might be surprised seeing it again. The way it looks now, after the recent restoration, is definitely not how I remember it. The romantic simplicity is gone and replaced by the sophisticated beauty envisioned by the Peter the Great. So you will see the park exactly the way he planned it centuries ago.

alley in the summer Garder St Petersburg

We now move to Vasilievsky Island.

Tip!  Use bus number 7 if you need to get from Nevsky prospect to Vasilievsiy ostrov.

If you have boys, do not miss these attractions!

10. Icebreaker Krassin 

was built in 1917 and now is a floating museum. The life of this ship is full of interesting stories that you will learn about the moment you step on the ship for an excursion. Do you know a Morse code? You will get a chance to practice sending a signal from there too.

Icebreaker Krasin St Petersburg Russia

11. Submarine S-189 (C-189)

Have you been inside of a submarine? Do not miss your chance to visit the 613 class diesel-electric submarine! It was built in 1954 and was in use until 1990. One can freely walk inside the boat and get a feeling how it was for marines to serve there. You can see living spaces, machinery, a torpedo room and even look through a periscope in the control room!

12. Zoological museum

Do you have a little paleontologists at home? Finally kids will be able to see something with their own eyes and not on a picture! The unique exposition of mammoth will keep them excited.

Have your kids ever asked you how big is a whale? Here they can see how big it is big by looking at a skeleton of the 27 m long blue whale! Click through the pictures on the museum website ( in Russian) to check other collections.

13. Kunstkamera 

is the first museum in Russia. It was established by Peter the Great in 1714. Right now it is called the Peter the Great museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. You can see his first collection that includes examples of accidents of nature with which Peter the Great wanted to fight peoples fears and superstitious believes. 

Have you ever asked yourself what was the first museum in your country? I am curious. Leave a comment with the name of the museum and the country. :)

14. Museum of Electrical Transportation 

Do you know how the first St-Petersburg tram looked like? You can travel in time to the beginning of 20 century and see how the city’s electrical transportation, which were trams and trolleybuses, has evolved over time. 

15. Varezhka Museum

In English Varezhka means mitten. It is a unique museum where kids can be kids there and touch (carefully!) almost everything. You can find many mittens from around the world, but do not expect to see only them there. Actually this is the house of a little girl Varja Varezhkina ( a fictional character) who does many good things for orphan kids. She wanted orphans to be warm and started making mittens for them. Come to meet her and hear her wonderful story. You can even help her to help others!
The museum has two rooms where kids can play freely. Mine loved playing in firefighters. The museum is small, but it is difficult to predict how long your kids would like to stay there for. My two just would not want to leave. Thanks God they were hungry and I was able to lure them out with promised of food.

Varezhka ( Mitten) museum St Petersburg

Food Tip! There is a great restaurant to go to with kids and it is just minutes away. They offer kids’ menu and markers to keep your little ones busy. It is called “Schastye”(Happiness) . I marked it on the map.

16. Cat Republic

Are you a cat lover? This is a neat place to stop by. It is a cafe , a library and a room full of real cats! You can even adopt some of those little furry animals!

17. Petrovskaya Akvatoria - Model of St- Petersburg of the 18th century

You walk around, you see and enjoy the city of today. But can you imagine how it looked in the 18th century? Visit this large scale model located on the 6th floor of the shopping center Admiral to see for yourself how different it was centuries ago.

18. Grand Maket Rossiya

It is the biggest model of entire Russia. It is impressive. Trains and cars are running, things are moving, days turn into nights - the model is alive. It is real fun for all ages. Allow plenty of time for the visit, there are so many interesting details to look at. No need to worry about the food as there is a self service restaurant right on premises. I would not be surprised if you walk away with a wish to return to Russia and have ideas of what to see during your next trip.

Grand Maket Rossiya

19. Museum of the Railroad Transportation

Are there any train lovers in your family? Watching how model locomotives move cars from track to track in a scaled down railway yard will help your little one get inspirations for the next tracks installation when you get home. It is a great attraction for everyone who is interested in trains and who would like to learn the history of railroad transportation in Russia, and perhaps, who would like to practice Russian as all the information is written only in it. It’s a bummer as museum is great otherwise. Additional bonus that there is the Yusupov Garden nearby - you can let your child run free and let you relax for a bit.

railway yard model in Museum of the Railroad Transportation St Petersburg Russia

20. Oktyabrskaya Railway Museum

And more trains! Now the real ones. You can even climb inside! The exhibition includes steam locomotives, diesel locomotives,railway cranes, freight cars. The oldest coach car is dated 1878.

21. The Universe of Water 

The museum is located inside a water tower (constructed in 1859-1862) There you will learn about the history of water and see what toilet looked like many years ago. Follow the path water has to take from its source through pipes into your home and from your home back down to the sewage treatment plant. The exposition ends in the former clean water reservoir where you are surrounded by constantly changing pictures of water and sound effects.

See more places to visit and activities to do with kids listed on the map.

If you are a parent of a bilingual child , who speaks Russian, I marked great attractions for your little one for some more language practice.

Read Bilingual Children Travelling to Minority Language Country Diary, if you’d like to learn more about what we have seen during our trip to St-Petersburg.

Nights out

If you go to St. Petersburg in the summer, plan to stay up until very late to watch a spectacle of the summer - enormous bridges over Neva river, each lit with lights, open one after another to allow ships to pass through. The Palace Bridge ( Dvortzoviy most) , which is located right at front of the Hermitage, opens twice at 1:25 am and 3:10am.
Check the official St. Petersburg bridges’ opening schedule in Russian for other bridges’ opening and closing times.  
And don’t get stranded on the wrong side of the river :)


St. Petersburg Metro

The must see is the Petersburg's Metro (subway). You enter a station, step on an escalator and your adventure begins! The moving stairs run and run and run. You feel that you should be already at the bottom but the stairs keep on running down deeper and deeper. And here you are! In a long corridor decorated with marble, granite, glass, mosaic... Is it really a subway station? A second later you hear sounds of the approaching metro train. Yes, it is! You won't believe your eyes!

Red line (M1) was built the first and was opened in 1955. The old stations are all like a piece of art on their own. Visit Avtovo station , if you can. It is one of the most beautiful in the world.

St Petersburg Metro Avtovo station

There are 5 metro lines as of today that connect different parts of the city. The new stations are modern but still very beautiful and worth a visit.

Ground transportation 

Ground transportation is also very developed. Trams, buses, trolleybuses.

If your kids are tired - hop on one of the trams, buses or trolleybuses to do a trip around the city. You can buy a ticket right on board from a conductor.


Railroad in Russia is huge. Petersburg has not one, but 5 main train stations from which trains depart in different direction. The station buildings are old and very beautiful inside.

Vitebsiy Vokzal train station building

From Vitebsiy station (Витебский вокзал) you can get to other tourist destinations such as Pushkin (Царское Село) and Pavlovsk.

From Moskovsky Vokzal, you can take a night train or 3 hours express train to Moscow.

From Finlandskiy Vokzal (Финляндский вокзал) you can get to Vyborg and Priozersk .

From Baltiysky Vokzal (Балтийский вокзал) you can get to Peterhof (Петергоф), Lomonosov (Ломоносов) and Gatchina (Гатчина).



There are many excursion boats that you can take to see the city from the water. Check the route map before hopping on one, as some do not have a permit to go into the open waters of the river Neva and others are too big to pass under low bridges of the rivers and canals.

You can get directly to Peterhof fountain park, the Russian Versailles by a boat. (boats location is marked on the map)

Food Stores

With kids it is always good to have some snack with you. You can stop by one of the grocery stores that are spread around the city to buy some fruit, juice, cookies. Try “sushka” - my kids love them!

There are street vendors that sell water and ice-cream. Russian ice cream is something you should try - it’s different. Look for the cheapest one in a waffle “glass” ( “в вафельном стаканчике”) and pass on anything that looks like regular cone. The ice cream looked like that many years ago, when I was little. It tastes a little different now.

Russian Ice cream from soviet times

When to go to St-Petersburg?

The best time to visit St-Petersburg is during the white nights - when the sun almost does not set - which last from mid June to the beginning of July. The weather in May and September is also not bad, August can surprise you with rains. Check the weather statistics to make a decision.

Flights to St Petersburg /Airport

St-Petersburg has one airport - Pulkovo. LED is the airport code.
As of today Pulkovo airport has direct flights to 114 cities. Check the destinations map to see if there is a direct flight from your city. Do not worry if you see a Russian airline ( Aeroflot or Rossiya). They are as safe as any other world airline is. Use the Pulkovo airport flight schedule to plan your trip.

Once at the airport:
If you travel with kids, best option for you is to hire a TAXI. It will cost you 900-1000 rub. Check the official Pulkovo TAXI fair map.

Here you can find information on how to get from Pulkovo airport to the city center by public transportation.
You can also rent a car. The car rental offices are located on the 1st floor of Pulkovo airport. You have a choice of the following car rental companies: AVIS, Herzt,  Europcar,  SIXT, Thrifty.

 St-Petersburg Guide:

Now you reached the end of my guide to the best places to visit with kids in St. Petersburg, and by now you probably realized that I am in love with the city. In fact, it was supposed to be a short post for Your neighbourhood around the world series , but I just could not stop writing.

You might like reading:

Why You Should Visit Italy During Winter Holiday Season and Why You Should Not.

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings. 

FREE Audio Books and Stories for children in English. 19 great websites. 

 Can babies distinguish foreign languages?  

The list of the kids books in Russian and cartoons.

List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci 

Kid's radio stations from around the world

Sushka Photo is by Juerg Vollmer from Zürich, Schweiz (Bubliki) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons