05 October, 2012
We adults know and assume we like certain things and not others in general, and that is mainly because we have gone through different experiences that have an impact on our tastes. But what if you hadn´t had the time to go through experiences yet, because you were born just a couple of years ago? Now we see our kid growing so fast, it amazes us how quickly his taste evolves. Sometime it´s difficult to keep up with what´s in fashion at the moment.
This might have an impact when you are trying to foster exposure to the minority language through activities that in your opinion are rich, varied, entertaining, exciting and… and your kid is apparently not much interested in!!!
My boy seemed to love me reading stories to him when he was 10 to 16 months old. We would snuggle together on the sofa, grab a book and see the pictures, and I´d talk about the things that we saw. I had then assumed that it would continue to be like this as the months went by, but of course it wasn’t.
As he grew up, he started to move and explore a lot more, and he´d barely stand sitting on my lap for more than 3 seconds, at least there´s something yummy to chew on...
He´s gone through phases on which his preferences have varied significantly. First he was so much into animals, so much than at 25 months old his vocabulary on the issue was remarkable, but in the last 2-3 months he´s become what I call a “vehicle-centered freak”, since he is absolutely in love with everything related to trucks, cars, bumps, roads, bridges and things of the like.
I was in fact a little shocked the other day when we went through one of his favorite books about animals and he seemed to have forgotten the names of some of the animals he knew quite well months ago. It´s true that the names he had some trouble remembering were those he paid less attention to at that time, but still I felt kind of altered; because I think I tend to take for granted that they only add up knowledge and it stays there. There´s obviously nothing to worry about because we understand it´s all part of the processes he is supposed to go through, but one can´t help but wondering if it´s one´s fault.
After some similar situations I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to making the minority language as fun as possible, it´s much more beneficial to go with the flow. After all it turns out that using that old best-seller about animals as a slope for the tow truck, and talking about who´s got a flat tire works much better than forcing him to go through the book and repeat the name of the animals.
When he is not interested in something he just turns a deaf ear on you and acts like the thing doesn´t go with him, so I´m trying to detect these deafness moments and change the subject to keep the game going.
One of his favorite games now consists in me playing some short of magic trick and hide his ultra-loved Lightning McQueen in different places, then I give him some leads to get to it. This is working very well since he pays so much attention to the leads and I make them gradually more complex and interactive so he gets more vocabulary and talks more using different expressions. The only thing I fear is if I´m saying things right!!! No kidding…
What about you guys? Have your children experienced many phases in their tastes? How do you handle their interests to foster exposure and prompt response in the minority language?