Raising bilingual kids
Who said raising bilingual kids was an easy task. Learning another language requires perseverance, attention, labor, time and interest, from both, parents and kids. When my daughter was born I was determined to teach her our native language first and let her learn English (her second language) once she entered school. We registered her for a couple of hours at school but it was until then that we noticed that couple of hours was not enough for her to feel comfortable with the language and be able to communicate.
Do not underestimate how important commitment and consistency are in successfully raising a bilingual child. Continuity is vital when learning a foreign language. The greater, the richer in experiences and the more continuous and intense children’s contact with a second language is, the better the outcome, ideally resulting in them becoming bilingual.
We decided she needed consistency and continuity if we wanted her to become a fluent bilingual child. We expose her to the language in ways that are fun, playful and immersive. Find playgroups of kids who are being raised in the same languages, and started the search of fun activities that involved both languages.
And let me tell you, Don’t underestimate how capable a child is of using the language when he needs to, even if with you they just refuse to speak it. They are still absorbing the sounds of the language and developing retention. And they might just surprise you one day as my daughter did. Being bilingual brings lots of benefits but definitely the most important one is the need and pleasure it brings to be able to communicate with someone else that speaks that same language. Once my daughter saw the need to speak that second language to communicate with kids their age, she started talking, without hesitation, and it became notable her interest and eagerness to learn more and more.
As with everything in life, plans change and things need to adapt, but as long as you remain convinced that bilingualism is an important gift you want to give your child, you’ll always find a way to remain consistent and stick to it.
Remember raising bilingual kids takes time and dedication. But the benefits, make it all worthwhile. What are you doing to help your child bilingualism? Let us know.