Isolated because of language?

10 Nov 2011

I have just come back from picking up my daughter, LJ, from kindergarten. Now, I have to explain it is not a kindergarten where she goes all day. It is more a kind of playgroup where the children are welcomed twice a week for the morning. All children arrive and leave at the same time. It is a lovely little group (13 children) all between 18 months and 3 years old.
Since we recently (6 months ago) moved here, Germany, my daughter has had a little exposure to German (through a few days with a childminder - this is now over) but not much more. My German is very rusty and hubby's is non-existent. We are both learning but we feel it is not coming on very fast. Anyway, this is another topic.

When I picked her up today, she came to me and seemed very happy. But while we were all tidying up she stayed with me all along and didn't join in to the other children's last game. She was the only one (apart from another little girl who was crying) to be with her mum/dad. I felt a little sorry for her and tried to encourage her. But she wanted cuddles.

Now, I know she can say a few words in German. But I am not sure how much she understands. I felt a little sorry for her. I feel a little excluded from all of the parents' talk there and I worry she feels the same. She is a very cuddly and affectionate little girl, so it made sense she wanted a cuddle. But she is also quite independent and is always happy to go there in the morning.

As a linguist, I tell myself, she is just fine and can understand what happens. She can say more than her dad in German! I am sure when I am not there she plays with everybody else. But as a mum, I worry about it.
I guess I will need to reassure myself and ask one of the carers how she is doing but this is going to be tricky as I need to prepare my own sentences...

Have you had any similar experiences? How did you cope?


  1. Oh that's a hard one. I don't know what to do, but I think it's lucky that she has you for cuddles when she needs them.

    When I first came to Japan I couldn't speak a word of Japanese and spent a long time just listening. Yes I felt left out, but I could figure things out from body language a lot. I'm a talker and it's probably the most time I've ever spent listening in my life!

  2. Thanks. I had a chat with one carer and she said she spoke a lot in the last couple of sessions, not always in German but it is a good sign. Also yesterday when I dropped her off she ran to the group and said "hallo"! So she is clearly happy there.


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