The bi-lingual journey – A Steep Climb

It’s sometimes heartbreaking to see my 3-year-old, my youngest kid, “my personal experiment”, speak and respond to me in English as he starts to communicate more fluently.

“Mummy wanna go outside!” he says as he points towards the door indicating he wants to go outside. “Socks, shoes…” he continues.” I quickly respond back to him saying “o fẹ́ lọ sí’ta? Bàtà ẹ dà?” (Which means, “You want to go outside? Where are your shoes?”)

It feels like I am failing sometimes! 🙁

I was not as intentional in speaking in Yoruba to my 2 older kids, but I’ve been very intentional in speaking it to my youngest kid since birth. I understand that being the youngest, and only 3 years old, he soaks up everything in his environment. As he is constantly surrounded by TV shows, streaming YouTube videos and nursery rhymes, and of course his older siblings whom are constantly communicating in English. I also don’t honestly always stick to speaking 100% Yoruba to him all of the time.

It is extremely hard to keep a stark Yoruba environment, living in an American City. So it is no doubt an uphill battle to get him to respond to me in Yoruba.

With that being said, I am always making him repeat his communication back to me in Yoruba. Oh what joy I feel, when I occasionally hear him say without being prompted “bata” (shoes) or “Sọ̀ kalẹ̀” (as he indicates he wants help in getting down from a high chair! But majority of the time, it’s English!

He still enjoys listening to our Oodles of Fun kids Yoruba Videos and Online Material. Check them out and Subscribe on this website or YouTube. I know he’s learning and interested and most definitely better off than having no exposure! It’s just not as organic and natural as I would have liked given my mission! Haha

However, the journey continues! There is a very popular saying that goes “little drops of water make a mighty ocean.” So, I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, I am still very hopeful. I’ll continue to do my best and provide the material for him and millions of others who have the desire for a bi-lingual or multilingual child.

Leave your comments below on any tips, tricks or personal experiences or challenges you have raising a bilingual child!


  1. I can totally empathise. I am currently living this battle with my second child, who is 20 months old, and who I also consider my Yoruba experiment. Right from birth I have been very deliberately speaking Yoruba to her and it is beautiful when I hear her say things like “Milk otitan” and take instructions in Yoruba. But I feel like the English influence is insurmountable. Her dad isn’t Yoruba and I didn’t start teaching her 5 year old brother early, so English is the main language at home. But I keep finding ways of engaging her and big brother, like your lovely videos on YouTube and your book Ojo Ijapa Mura. I hope my son can get to a place of understanding and some speaking and my daughter can achieve fluency level. It can be daunting but knowing I’m not alone in this ambition helps. My son loves to see that other children learn Yoruba too so your recent YouTube quiz with kids was a godsend on a day that I had struggled and failed to get him to enjoy a Yoruba lesson. Thanks for all you’re doing.

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I am thrilled and proud of parents like you putting in that work! I am certain there will be growth as long as we are intentional about it. Let’s keep encouraging each other and others who are not so encouraged. We are in it together! Keep us posted ! 🙂

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