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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Hi, my 18 mo old us about to start daycare in a month. We

Customer Question

Hi, my 18 mo old us about to start daycare in a month. We are a bilingual family, but speak only German at home. He understands German very well, and can repeat a lot of words and even puts two words together. Now, he is starting a regular American daycare and I am concerned that he will be confused and stop talking altogether, and that eventually he will lose German completely. At the same time, I want to ease his transition and wondering what the best approach is for him to ultimately speak both languages fluently. As of right now he understands 0 English. (We do not watch TV). I am starting to teach him colors, numbers and letters now. Shall I do it in English instead? These are the skulls he will need for school, so I am wondering if I should be doing both. Same thing with books, we are reading German books, and I even translate English books for him, but shall I be doing it in both languages? I am thinking of maybe just taking him to a local Barnes and Noble once a week for a story time and read to him in our native language at night. What is your professional opinion?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear parents,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
Can you see my answers?

I believe there has been a technical glitch.

Speak to him in German as much as you like. He will learn English in school. He will NOT confuse the two languages. This happens all the time and will be a great blessing to him and to you and will help him in his life.

Take adantage of this and give him a bilingual upbringing.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes. Agree. But do you think there is a benefit of starting a daycare at 18 mo (I am talking about a high quality daycare with small classes and high emphasis on education and socialization)? Will he get confused? Will he stop talking altogether? Also, I teach him shapes and numbers and cord, but I do it in German. Shall I do it in English now since he will be learning that in school now? Is there a benefit of exposing him to both languages now? I stay home and I can just keep entertaining him at home and keeping him in just one language environment (German) to endure he learns it well, and then start him in scho when he has to (at 5?) and them let him learn English. Some people advise that, they say this way he will learn German really well (can learn how to read and write etc On the other hand, I am thinking I can send him to this daycare (more like preschool ) sheets he can learn English for the first half of thd day (only from 9-12 twice a week) and I can continue readi g and talking German with him and maybe teaching stuff related to school on English? Please advise what the best way is.
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
Dear friend,

I think that the daycare at 18 months is better than a babysitter if you need to be away from your child for work. Otherwise he will be better off at home.

If it is part ime then it will help in his socialization and will insure learning American English and "culture".

Your plan is excellent since it only involves two 3 hour days a week.

Let me recommend these two books for guidance:

Raising a Bilingual Child (Living Language Series) by Barbara Zurer Pearson and Living Language




7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child by Naomi Steiner MD, Susan L. Hayes and Steven Parker M.D.


I believe that you are on the right track and urge you to get both books as they will help you every step of the way.


Warm regards,



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
One more question: he seems to enjoy "learning" shall I teach shapes, colors, numbers and letters in English or German?
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.

That is etc.

Das ist etc.

He will sort it out. He will be fluent in both languages and will know when to use the correct one.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh! You mean both languages together? Or one day we learn numbers in German and next in English? How about story time? One book in German one book in English? Good plan? Or keep it to German?
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
Your choice. If you are more proficient in German then stick to German. Let him watch a few (JUST A FEW) children's TV shows.

You can also supplement this with shows for kids in German at: