Top 5 Ways To Raise a Bilingual Kid!
Children learn really quick when they are young. It is amazing how they can remember a lot of information and develop phenomenal learning capacity that the average adult cannot do. So when it comes to language acquisition, adopt these clever techniques in honing your child’s skills to become a bilingual kid. We have listed a top 5 ways to raise a bilingual kid!
1. Start early
If you’re proactive from the start, you’ll stand a much better chance of nurturing a good balance in the child’s bilingual ability. From birth to age 6 or 7 is a vital time for two reasons: 1) this is the period young brains are most primed for language acquisition, and 2) if the child attends elementary school in the majority language, it grows more difficult to “rebalance” the two languages after that. In other words, the investment of time and energy up front will make it easier to foster the balance you seek, then maintain that balance throughout childhood. Playing “catch up” with the minority language is much harder.
2. Set a goal and adopt a strategy
How will you use the two languages within your family? Two common strategies are the “one person, one language” approach (where each parent speaks his or her mother tongue) and the “minority language at home” approach (where both parents use the minority language at home and the majority language is acquired from the community). Whatever strategy you choose, the important thing is making sure that the child has a natural need to use the minority language and receives sufficient daily input in that language. The family should then stick consistently to its strategy, unless a change in circumstance warrants a change in approach.
Set a clear goal for your child’s ability in the minority language. Will you be content with oral fluency, and less concerned with reading and writing? Or is literacy important to you, too, and you’d like to see her read and write at the level of a monolingual child? Whatever your goal is, articulate it, and make sure that your efforts match the goal you seek. Good reading and writing ability are attainable, but this goal will require a diligent commitment from both you and your child.
3. Watch shows in a different language
If your child loves games and adventure, find out ways you can enhance his or her bilingual skills in this aspect. A lot of the young kids enjoy watching “Dora the Explorer” episodes for example. These are available in different languages so it is easy to download the series in the language that you want.” Between the age of 3 and 6 is a crucial stage of childhood in terms of language learning and development. The malleable mind of a child at this age is like a sponge and Dr Morrison advises that “after the age of five, it is highly unlikely to acquire the mother tongue of a language if it is not yet already acquired”.
4. Travel with your kid and talk to your kids
Visit the country where the language is spoken, if your budget and time will allow you to do so. Total immersion for even just a few days can do wonders to your child’s bilingual skills. If you do not want to break the bank, encourage family and friends to pay you a visit instead so they can interact with your little one.
Research has shown a correlation between the volume of speech spoken by parents to their children in the earliest years and the child’s language ability at a later age. In other words, the sheer quantity of speech directed at the child by the parents and caregivers from birth to age 3 has a tremendous impact on language development. Although it’s not recommended talking a poor baby’s ears off because infants need quiet time, too, for their brains to consolidate each day’s new discoveries. It is advisable to the parents of the minority language to be proactive in interacting with their children.
5. Make it fun
It is obvious that raising a bilingual child is a lot of hard work and dedication for everyone involved, so it’s crucial to make the experience enjoyable as much as you can. It’s an odd balance, but it’s important to be both very serious and very playful at the same time: serious about the process and yet playful when it comes to carrying that process out. Half of this is simply attitude, but the other half involves implementing activities (books, stories, riddles, games, etc.) that can nurture language development in a lighthearted way.
We hope this information was helpful for you!