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Hi I’m Swedish raising my two children, 2 1/2 and 15 months, in Australia with an Australian husband.

For various dumb reasons I did not start speaking Swedish to my daughter from birth –  and of course the longer you leave it the harder it becomes. My main hurdle is the fact that I’ve not actually lived in Sweden myself for 12 years and now days I think / dream / talk in English so I have to make a conscious effort to stick to it.

On the plus side my daughter has at least been exposed to the sound of Swedish from an early age: weekly Swedish mothers group and meeting Swedish friends, phoning my mum in Swedish, visiting there and listening to Swedish music.

I really want to start now… just hoping to hear from anyone who started around this age and how it went? Just need a kick up my back really to just do it!


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It can be done! Dont sell yourself or your kids short. Start ASAP, and stick to it.

I recommend gradually changing little daily routines to Swedish. Start with getting dressed/diaper changes. Every few days, conciously change a few more words and phrases into Swedish!

As you introduce the Swedish phrase in context, STOP saying those things in English to the baby. For example, pick 3+ phrases a week to abondon in English.
Such as:
Thank you,
I love you,
What do you need?
Yes, my love?
Here I come
Where did you get that?
STOP that,
Do this..
Put that
Come here,
Wait a minute,
Tell Daddy,
Do you hear me?

etc, in Swedish. Try not to translate, if you use them in context your girls will quickly understand. If you’re worried, say it in Swedish, then English, but only for a few days, then stop using the English, they will have learned what the sayings mean.

Get a “1000” words in Swedish book to keep around the house. Play games like Memory using Swedish names for the items. (With pictures, but say, I have turned over a [shoe] and…a [lamp]. Your turn.)

Read Swedish Articles on Wikipedia and around the web, start listening to Swedish radio around the house. Get Childrens songs in Swedish. Retell some familiar story, slowly but surely phasing the story into Swedish a little more each night.


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Hi there.

I’m also Swedish, living with an American in Sweden. I am currently writing a university essay on bilingualism; how to teach children two languages, and the effects that have to their future identity. I’ve only come so far in my study at this point, but all of the information I’ve found points in the same direction: – the ideal age to teach children more than one language is betwwen year 0-5, so you still have plenty of time! 

I would recommend getting some Swedish children books and shows. I’m sure your mum could send you anything from Astrid Lindgren or Viveca Lärn. Since your child speaks Swedish to your mum, and in other various contexts it will not be a dramatic change for her to hear a new language suddenly.

Lycka till!


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