Advice on Teaching Kids Vietnamese

We visited a very closed friend of our family who lived next to us in Vietnam. She’s my sister age. She and her husband speak Vietnamese, Chinese and English. They have four kids and they all speak English and Chinese, but no Vietnamese.

One of my cousins married a Chinese woman. He speaks Vietnamese, Chinese and English. They have two kids and they both speak English and Chinese, but no Vietnamese.

You probably get my point already. I know many many Vietnamese couples who English aren’t so good, yet their kids speak only English. What is going on here? Are we not teaching our kids Vietnamese?

We try our best to speak only Vietnamese to Dao, but he spends most of his day at daycare speaking English. For now he uses both languages. If we teach him something first, he would remember it. For instance, he would say “ech” whenever he sees the picture of a frog rather than “frog.” On the other hand, no matter how many times I said “con voi” to him, he would only say “elephant” first when he sees image of an elephant.

Fortunately, one of the teachers at the daycare is Vietnamese and so they both talk in Vietnamese. His assigned teachers would say to us that whenever Dao and Ms. Tam talk they have no idea. At times, he mixed both languages and confused the heck out of his teachers, but they are very encouraging about him speaking Vietnamese.

My goal is to teach him Vietnamese. So if you have successfully teach your kids Vietnamese, please share your tips. We have to teach our kids to learn their native language.