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Thank you for reading this. I am the proud dad of a two year old daughter. Unfortunately, she lives in California, while I live in South Africa. I see her on Skype 3 times per week (15 minutes) and I visit as often as possible, but even during those visits (12 weeks in total per year) I see her only 15,5 hours per week. That will increase slowly in the years to come, but still.

Currently I consistently speak to her in Dutch.

The thing I am concerned about is that this might be too little time to learn Dutch (it is far less than the 30% of awake time) and that could mean that not only she will not learn Dutch, but – more importantly – there will be a communication barrier, making it more difficult for her to connect with me. Is this something I should be worried about? because I rather have a good connection with my daughter and her not being able to learn Dutch, then a situation in which she finds it difficult to connect with me and she has some half-half knowledge of Dutch.

Thank you for your comments in advance!


I live in South-Africa (9 months/year) and California (3 months/year)

Languages: Dutch/English

System: OPOL

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Hi Arthur,

These are challenging circumstances, but I would encourage you and your wife to continue doing all that you can to support the Dutch side of your daughter’s bilingual ability while she’s still small. It may be difficult to prevent English from becoming dominant, but every little proactive effort will count for the longer-term future.

On your end, you might also try “cloning yourself,” something that I did myself for a few years when my children were younger and I had relatively little time at home…

The Busy Parent’s Guide to Cloning Yourself

At the same time, perhaps there are opportunities to regularly increase her exposure to Dutch in California? Could an international student, or other Dutch speaker, be hired to babysit once a week? Any other families nearby with Dutch-speaking children? I suggest being as resourceful as possible in this area.

Although your situation is somewhat special, the list of tips I share in this article might also spark some ideas for shoring up her language support…

My Best Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids

Arthur, I wish you the best of luck! And when times get tough and you need a few inspiring words, just click these links…

Cheers from Japan,


Adam Beck
Bilingual Monkeys: Ideas and inspiration for raising bilingual kids (without going bananas)


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