How you can share your native language with your host kids

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Part of being an au pair is that your native language isn’t English (unless you come from
South Africa or England). Maybe, part of the reason why you came to America was to
improve your English but why stop there? Why not use your time here to not only improve
your own language skills but to also teach your host kids a bit of your native language?
I want to share with you two easy and fun ideas on how you can teach your host kids a few
words or phrases in your native language.

Through games

Games are always a great way to teach children something new,
whether it’s counting, teamwork, strategy or fairness. We have a few games in our
house that deal with animals, colors and shapes. Whenever my host kids and I play
one of those games, I first encourage them to say the English word for it out loud and
after that, I add the German word for it. I keep doing this throughout the game and
you won’t believe how fast they pick these things up. However, you can’t just do it
once and then leave it at that. You need to repeat it frequently, so either do it every
time you play that game or ask them which words they remember and go from there.

Word of the day 

I have started something with my host kids that I like to
call the “German Word of the day”. It basically is what it sounds like. Every day we
decide on one word or phrase, which is either random and we just thought of it,
something that we came across a lot that day or something that is around us in that
very situation. Once we have decided on something, I tell them what it means in
German. I sometimes spell it, especially for my host parents because I found out that
it is easier for them to say once they know how to spell it. After I have told them the
“German Word of the day” I keep using it when I talk to them, to help them
remember it.

Being able to share my native language with my host kids is something I love about this
experience. The best thing by far though is, when they start using those words out of the
blue. Just the other day, my host kid told me that he saw a rabbit in our backyard but he used the German word for rabbit (which is “Hase”, for anyone interested). I love moments
like these because they show me how big of an impact I actually have here.

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