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Want to raise a bilingual child but unsure where to start?
Do you want your little one to be fluent in several languages without much effort? It is possible. If you wish to raise a bilingual, the main rule is being consistent in your studies and remembering that this is not a short-term experiment, but rather a lifetime-long endeavor. Below we will discuss what it takes to raise a bilingual child. Keep reading and note our time-tested tips!
Raising a Bilingual Child: Our Advice
1. Incorporate learning from a young age.
Of course, you can always start mastering an extra language, but the sooner you start – the better, as the learning ability decreases with age. Italian educator Maria Montessori believes that there is a favorable period for the development of new skills in children. When it comes to learning languages, this period is between 3.5 – 4.5 years for writing and 4.5 – 5.5 for reading.
2. Learn both languages simultaneously.
You needn’t wait until your child learns one language before starting on the second one. Children are much smarter and more capable learners than one may think. They soak up new information like a sponge and are very susceptible learners, so you can teach them both languages at the same time without fear.
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3. Don’t mix different languages in one sentence.
If you are fluent in several languages, you can teach a child both of them, but try not to intermingle the two. You can alternate between languages in the pattern of your choosing, but allow the child to concentrate on one language for a set amount of time before switching to another.
4. One parent per language.
Most educators advise associating one language with one person. This way, children will have an easier time learning, as they will practice both languages simultaneously yet interchangeably.
5. One situation per language.
This is a different take on the same premise. You may practice one language at home while using a different one publicly.
6. Do not vigorously correct your child.
Any form of formability when teaching is not advisory. Speech is formed freely and naturally, so it is normal if the child prefers one language over the other, or mixes them. Code mixing is a natural part of learning and will not be a long-term issue. Supporting a child and not stiffening their desire to learn is important.
7. |Deliver many monologues.
Hearing live speech is the absolute best way to learn languages. If you want your child to learn effectively and swiftly, be ready for hours of talking.
8. Expose your child to numerous speakers.
It is best if the child hears a language not just from their parents, but also from other people, especially if they are native speakers, to achieve better immersion into a language. This way a child will get used to the speech, intonation, and vocabulary of others more easily.
9. Get some helpful literature.
No matter how much you talk to your child, verbal communication alone is not enough. Stock up on books and other educational materials. You will likely enjoy revisiting childhood stories and old fairy tales with your child. Just embrace your joint useful pastime!
At some point, a child may start leaning towards one language and ignoring another. To prevent this from happening, motivate them, support any desire to talk, play or consume information. Use your child’s interests to further motivate their learning.
A Soon-to-Be Brilliant Bilingual!
With these straightforward tips, your kid’s language learning will be resultative and swift. Don’t hesitate to teach your child to master several languages, as such skills will benefit their life in many ways. Be consistent, creative, and patient – the results will impress you! You’ll be impressed with how simple it is to raise a bilingual child, when you know exactly what to do!
BIO: Merissa Moore
Merissa is a dedicated writer, educator, and aspiring journalist. Writing is a passion she picked up while teaching abroad, which makes her a perfect candidate who can cover any topics that involve linguistic education. When composing articles, Merissa gravitates towards topics that highlight learning and skill-building in youth, but she also likes experimenting with other subjects. Her hobbies include baking and traveling.