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Episode Info: e reminders – through out the day set up phone reminders in random time that says just that – speak Arabic -wear peace of jewelry in your national style when you are around your kids, like ring or bracelet. Every time you look at it, you will be reminded to stick to Arabic -hang Arabic flag on the visible place – not only it will show your kids that you are proud of your heritage, but you will also be reminded to speak your language. I also embrace my kids’ support. I often ask them to correct me if I forget to speak Ukrainian. My daughter feels so proud if she can help me to remember! Please, don’t torture yourself that you don’t stick to the language for right now, it is not just the matter of your inner willpower. There are also many external factors that contribute to majority language usage in your family. Start everyday fresh and and positive despite the fact that yesterday you used majority language most of the day. You will build this habit, its just the matter of time. The thing is, when you are stressed about your language, kids will pick up on your mood and will develop the same feeling to their Arabic. The point is – we don’t want the language you are trying to pass to be in the middle of stress. Now, lets talk about if it is too late. No, by any means – no. Older children are as capable to learn second language as younger ones. But your 8 yeas old may not be as receptive to changing the language of communication with you. I think you should be ready for him to be a passive bilingual for a while, meaning he will understand everything you are saying, but just won’t respond. And that’s OK. With the right need in the future his passive language knowledge can turn into active in a very short period of time. I’ve interviewed Maria Babin some time ago, and she is a real life example of how passive bilingualism can be a great skill that will turn into active. Kids are taught by example, not by what we say to them. So just be your best in Arabic, they will pick up on your mood and language. I am so glad to hear that your boys love to read! And I can definitely relate that it is hard to find good books in your heritage language. Here in the united states the selection of books depends on the language. Books in Spanish are easily found even in my small rural town library, but books in Ukrainian and even in Russian are very hard to come by. Even if I find good selection online, it costs a lot of money. The most budget friendly option is buy big load of books when you visit your family back home. We have just came back from “Ukraine recently and 2/3 of our luggage weight were books. I actually wrote the whole article on how to find books in heritage. You can find some tips in it! The last one could be a big surprise to you. Check it out here. Hopefully these tips were useful to you, dear reader, as well. Let me know in the comments if you are in the same situation as Jehanne and what do you do about it. ...
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