For as long as I can remember, I've been a 'perfectionist'. It would drive me nuts to see a word spelled wrong, someone wearing mismatched socks or the toilet paper roll hung in the wrong direction (that one drives you nuts too, doesn't it?) I never really understood why exactly it drove me nuts but it did. Like finger nails on a chalkboard.
My expectations for myself were so much higher than my expectations for anyone else and to be completely honest, they were downright unrealistic. My fear of making a mistake or not doing it 'the right way' was numbing. I would avoid restaurants because I'd never been there before and I didn't know what to expect. If I wasn't sure how something would turn out, I'd end up either procrastinating to the extreme or I'd avoid the situation all together. I still struggle with this sometimes (as you can tell by the fact that I'm writing this post 2 hours before it'll go live).
Sadly, it carried over into my children's language learning too. I waited almost a year to start Spanish with my oldest because I was terrified that I'd do it wrong. I'm fluent in Spanish. That's pretty hard to screw up with a baby! For their other languages (which I don't speak), I would avoid any activities that required me to speak to them because I was worried that I'd pronounce something wrong or use a word in the wrong context. In all of my worry, they ended up missing out on so many hours of exposure to the language. If I had just stepped in and been okay with learning alongside them, we would've all improved together and I would be better at helping them now too.
I hear parents tell me all the time that they haven't done activities with their kids because they're scared that they'll pronounce something wrong. They don't want their kids to learn it wrong. YOU'RE NOT ALONE!
Here's what you need to remember....When they say "Done is better than perfect", they're right. Done really is better than perfect. As we go on with life, and they get better with the language, it won't matter. As long as they have exposure to a variety of language sources (i.e. shows, music, tutors, etc), it won't matter if you pronounced the word wrong. What matters is that it happened. The word communicated, the socks were worn, the toilet paper was available, the towels were clean and the language was practiced. More important still, you spent time together and connected through your new language which is the entire point of language, isn't it? How any of those things happen is pretty irrelevant. Give yourself some grace, go forth and raise little language learners!
Hey! I'm Bridgette, wife, homeschooling mama of 3, entrepreneur, Michigan native and coffee addict extraordinaire. I love photography, travel, teaching, crafting and Saturday afternoon movies with the family. I'm a former bilingual special education teacher who left public school teaching to homeschool my own multilingual kids. I use my professional knowledge of child development & language acquisition along with my own personal experiences to help other parents navigate their own family's multilingual journey.
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