Being a bilingual parent in Wales


I recently appeared on Olena Centeno’s fantastic podcast Bilingual Kids Rock to discuss my experiences of being a bilingual parent. You can listen to the interview if you click on the image below.


In the interview, I talk about the Welsh language, how I learned Welsh and why my wife and I are using it to bring up our son. As our son is just over a year old, it’s hard to know how well we’re doing yet as he generally babbles rather than talks. However, I’m sure that there’ll be plenty of fun just round the corner as his speech develops. He’s starting to copy gestures and sounds more and more and I’m sure that he’ll be chattering away before long.

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about listing to the Bilingual Kids Rock podcast has been hearing the range of different ways fellow parents and parent bloggers have gone about raising their kids bilingually. There have been so many different languages, methods and issues discussed in the fifteen episodes that have been recorded so far.

I’ve talked about bilingual parenting here on this blog quite a few times, so here’s a list of some posts that you might want to read if this is a subject that interests you:

Being a bilingual parent – read about how I went about learning Welsh and why my wife and I decided to raise our son using both Welsh and English.

Being a multilingual and multimedia parent – discover the different sorts of resources out there that can be helpful if you’re bringing up children bilingually.

Interview with Ana Flores about Bilingual is Better – read my interview with Ana Flores, one of the authors of the great book about bilingual parenting Bilingual is Better.

Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes – as I take the ability to tell dad jokes seriously, bringing up our son using Welsh as well as English has meant that I’ve had to learn dad jokes in Welsh as well as English.

I’ll be doing some more posts about being a bilingual parent in the next few months, so remember to subscribe to this blog so as you don’t miss them!


Please feel free to share your views about this post in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.


I’ve added this blog post to the following parent blog link ups where you can read lots more posts by fellow parent bloggers:

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent


PicMonkey Collage 11 thoughts

It’s time for my monthly feature about what I’ve learned about parenting this month. This edition is about hail storms, sleep and phone books…

1. Our son experienced a hail storm for the first time recently. He didn’t really like it, but calmed down after 10 minutes of playing peek-a-boo in the back seat of the car before leaving the supermarket car park.

2. I think that are son is getting the idea about sleeping in a bit longer on Sundays. One weekend recently he decided it was time to get up at 5.30am on the Saturday and 6am on the Sunday. Think we may need to keep working on this one 🙂

3. Our son has recently started crawling. As this picture of him at one week old imitating Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt demonstrates, he’s been keen to start moving for  a while!

Our son the sprinter

4. I think that my approach to grammar may soon need to be extended to not letting our son wear a baby grow on which an apostrophe has worn off.

5. A company that I criticized a while ago for not focusing on dads within their parenting materials recently contacted me about potentially doing a review of a safety gate that is normally used to stop small kids from going down stairs. As it happens, we live in a bungalow.

6. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about being a dad recently has been being able to make our son laugh. Often, it doesn’t take much. Some people would say that it’s good that the bar isn’t too high given some of the dad jokes that I mentioned in a recent blog post on here.

7. As I’m from Scotland, I’m pleased that our son enjoys eating porridge and vegetarian haggis. His recent food throwing capabilities suggest that it may soon be time for him to start training for the traditional Highland Games pursuit of caber tossing. I think I’ll make him watch the video below of the current world champion so as he knows what to do.

8. As I’ve just said, being a Scottish dad is one of the reasons that I’m delighted to see that our son enjoys eating porridge. I just wish he’d stop trying to eat it with his hands and let mummy and daddy feed it to him on a spoon. Breakfast time can get quite messy, especially when he seems intent on trying to use the porridge as if it were some sort of exfoliating facial scrub.

9. Our son recently tried to brush his teeth himself (all four of them!) during a bath. He has recently started to chew the wrong end of the toothbrush so it may well be that he’ll end up deciding against a career in dentistry.

10. Our son currently enjoys playing with the phone book (see below). I just hope that we won’t have to read to him as a bed time story in the near future. His other books are all so much more interesting.

2014-02-20 18.13.08

11. In addition to crawling all over the place, our son has recently had his first go at standing up on his. A new phase of parenthood is about to begin!

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

In week 1 of the MAD blog awards for UK parent bloggers, I’ve been nominated in the categories Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog and MAD Blog of the year. In each category, only the four blogs with the most votes will make the final shortlist. If you’d like to vote for me, please go to http://www.the-mads.com/vote/ and type in the web address of my blog (https://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/) in the relevant categories. Thank you!


I’ve linked this post up with the following parent blog linkies:

Family on the loose: the art of traveling with kids (Multicultural Kid Blogs book club)



This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Bloggers book club. Each week, a different blogger will focus on a different chapter of Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s book ‘Family on the loose: the art of traveling with kids’. I really enjoyed being part of the first MKB book club in which we read Ana Flores and Roxana Soto’s ‘Bilingual is Bettter’, and especially having the opportunity to interview Ana Flores. If you want to see more information on the book club and how you can get involved, please click here.

Chapters 1 and 2 of Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s Family on the loose: the art of travelling with kids

The photo below is of me with parents just before we flew from Edinburgh to California in 1982 at the start of a year that we spent living in San Jose. I was a few months short of my third birthday and it was my first big trip overseas. I’ve always really liked travelling and exploring new countries and have been lucky enough to have traveled to quite a lot of different countries here in Europe in the last ten years. In September 2012, my wife and I went to Brittany in France with our baby son for what was our first family holiday. I should perhaps have read Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s book before going as the first few chapters have already convinced me that it’ll be really useful when it comes to planning future trips. Their blog, also called Family on the Loose, is a great source of stories, tips and information for anyone with kids who’s interested in travel.

On the way to San Jose

Right from the introduction to Family on the loose, I loved the way the book discussed not just how to travel with kids but also why.  Here is one of the reasons for travelling as a family that I thought sounded particularly inspiring:

‘Travel is also a fabulous way to develop your family’s unique sense of shared values. As you explore other cultures and compare them to home, you will all learn more about yourselves and each other.’ (page 2)

Before getting married and becoming a parent, I had already realised that travel often involved me learning about myself through what I enjoyed most and what I enjoyed less. When I returned to the UK in 2004 after having spent three of the previous four years in France, I constantly found myself thinking about things in my own country in a different light. I look forward to seeing if we, as a family, will go through the sort of process outlined above after a few more trips.


The campsite where we stayed on our first family holiday

Among the aspects of travel that I have always enjoyed are the ways that it leads to an exciting range of new sights and experiences which broaden the mind. At the start of the first chapter, the authors conveyed this vividly by beginning with a quotation from Gandhi:

‘I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible’ (page 7)

These words were a prelude for the way that the authors discussed the ways in which to expose kids to foreign cultures and customs (e.g. food, films, crafts) at home before and after going abroad in the second chapter, which was appropriately entitled ‘Sowing seeds of enthusiasm’. The first chapter (Scoping the journey) also pointed towards ways of making kids excited about travelling by seeing it as an activity which should be planned with kids and not just for kids. This sounded like a good way of empowering children and making them aware of the sorts of choices that travelling involves and also the consequences of these choices.

The opening chapter (Scoping the journey) was full of useful pointers for people unused to travelling with kids. These included both general principles and more specific tips on issues such as accommodation, transport and budgeting. The chapter concluded with some helpful timelines for planning trips abroad. I really enjoyed the way that the second chapter (Sowing seeds of enthusiasm) discussed ways of starting the holiday fun before the holiday by fun things like trying out food that is associated with where you are going and doing craft activities that have a link with your destination.

A pear and goat cheese crepe with salted caramel sauce in Brittany (France)

What I thought was particularly good about the authors’ pre-travel tips from chapter two is that they seemed to be geared towards providing kids with a greater understanding of the culture and traditions of where they travel. It seems like a good way of encouraging them to see foreign lands as a lot more than some sort of large exotic theme park, and I think that this is really important. As someone who has taught foreign languages for over ten years, I was delighted to see the authors suggest that it’s a good idea to encourage kids to learn some simple expressions in the language(s) of the places they are going to explore on holiday.

Having read and enjoyed the first two chapters of Family on the loose, I am very keen to see what the rest of the book has in store. Indeed, this almost mirrors the way in which I am already looking forward to more family travels as our son gets older.

I’d love to hear what you think of what I’ve said about Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s book, and also travel in general. Here are some questions that you might want to discuss in the comments section below this post or on the Multicultural Kid Blogs Facebook or Google+ threads:

– What do you see as the most important things to do before going on holiday with kids?

– To what extent do you try to involve your kids in planning a trip abroad?

– What aspects of travel do your kids get most excited about?


If you’re interested in the topics that I’ve discussed in this blog post, here are three things that you can do:

– Share your ideas in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Google + Community.

– Link up your travel stories on Multicultural Kid Blogs.

– Follow the Travel with Kids Board on Pinterest.

Over the next few weeks, a series of fellow bloggers will be hosting discussions of the subsequent chapters of Family on the loose. Here’s the schedule:

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