Dr. Anke Buschmann, Frühinterventionszentrum, Heidelberg Dr. Ann-Katrin Bockmann, Universität Hildesheim M. Sc. Psych. Ellen Radtke, Universität Hildesheim Dr. Steffi Sachse, Transferzentrum für Neurowissenschaften und Lernen, Ulm Dipl.-Päd. Bettina Jooss, Frühinterventionszentrum, Heidelberg Gefördert von der Günter-Reimann-Dubbers-Stiftung

Kinderärztliche Praxis
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozialpädiatrie und Jugendmedizin e.V.

Soziale Pädiatrie und Jugendmedizin

Speech Ability from the Word Go ­ Factsheet U8/U9
Advice on dealing with a multilingual family environment
Dear Parent!
Your child has been going to day care for quite some time now, and has had an opportunity to become familiar with German. However, your child might still not be speaking much German. The following tips should help your child learn more German. ing bread from the bakers ­ this will help your child practise using German. the same rates in multilingual children as they do in monolinguals ­ around six to ten percent of preschool children have them. Multilingualism doesn't cause speech development disorders. In this case, special remedial courses in your day-care centre will not be enough ­ the best idea would be speech therapy, and you should begin with it soon.

If your child finds it difficult to learn German
The reason might be that your child has not had enough exposure to German so far. A specific remedial course in your daycare centre or a German course might help your child polish up on German. However, if your child is also showing difficulties in his or her native language, you really should talk to a paediatrician about this. Your paediatrician will take any tests needed to decide whether there is a speech development disorder involved. Speech development disorders occur at

If your child is four and only speaks a little German
Yourchildshouldgototheday-care centreregularly­everyday­and makefriendswithGermanchildren. Your child will have many opportunities to practise German, so give your child encouragement if he or she wants to meet German-speaking children in the afternoon, or go to a sports club. German children will be especially good role models for your child to learn German from. Takepartinparenteveningsandothereventsatyourday-carecentre. This will give you a good opportunity to meet German families, and also to chat to other multilingual families. Weurgentlyrecommendthatyoutake aGermancourseyourselfifyourGermanskillsarestillweak­thenyou canlearnGermantogetherwithyour child.

What your child can already do
Your child can already form complex sentences with main clauses and subclauses, and use all the basic structures of his or her native language.

How you can help your child's speech development
Useopportunitiesforconversationtogetherwithyourchild. Read to your child in your native language and in German, and then talk to your child about what you've read and the pictures in the book. Ask your child about the story and explain things in the story that your child asks about. YourchildwillalsoenjoylisteningtostoriesonCDandsingingtogetherin bothlanguages,whilehelpingimproveyourchild'sspeechskills. Useplaysituationssuchasbuildingwithbuildingblocks,dollsorthelike togettogetherandtalkwithyourchild. Talk about the things that you are doing together with your child and slip into various roles in a game. Rule games can also help your child develop speech, such as memory games to train longer sentences ­ "Rhinos, they live in Africa" and "Polar bears, they live at the North Pole." They don't go together. Yourchildwillstillmakemistakes­eveninhisorhernativelanguage­especiallyindifficultgrammaticalconstructionsandcomplicatedwords. That's perfectly normal. If you say the sentence again the right way without explicitly correcting your child, you'll be giving your child the best way to learn the word or construction. Child: ,,In the circus we sittin' in chairs." Parent: ,,Oh, you sat on the chairs, and what happened next?" Uselongersentenceswithyourchildandextendwhatyourchildhassaid withnewinformation. Child: ,,The fire brigade went fast." Parent:,,Right! I bet there was a house on fire, and the fire brigade had to go and put it out!"
© Kirchheim-Verlag, Mainz, 2011

If your child is five and only speaks a little German
Your child will be at school enrolment age soon, and it will be very important for your child to have good speaking and listening skills in German by then. Your child's learning opportunities at school will depend on his or her German skills. IfyourchildhasonlyhadalittleexposuretoGermansofar,goingto day-carecentrewillnotbeenough onitsown. We recommend that your child take a remedial course in German as well. Helpyourchildgainmoreindependence. Ask your child to do easy chores around where you live, such as buy-