In a bilingual home, parents are asking themselves and even seeking help on how to raise a bilingual child. So I wanted to share our bilingual journey and interview an expert in the subject, Rebecca Green.
What not to say to parents of a bilingual or multilingual child… “Oh you’re so lucky”
Seriously, luck doesn’t come into it, it takes hard work and commitment!
Anyone who knows me, know that my language skills are… lacking, to say the least. I really struggle with foreign languages, my brain doesn’t seem to be wired to remember the information. Need an engine dismantling and rebuilding? No problem. Want me to order your dinner in Japanese… it’s hit or miss on what you will get!
However, when I fell pregnant we decided that it was important to raise our child to be bilingual. When I started researching into which was the best way to make this happen, I realised that it was going to take some work, but also that it would be very beneficial for our child to be bilingual.
Benefits Of Being Bilingual As A Child Or Raising Your Child To Be Bilingual.
For us, it was important that our child could communicate fluently with his family back in the UK, he has a bigger extended British family and I wanted him to be able to talk to them. Also through the research, I found lots of evidence that showed that bilingual children have a better understanding of others’ perspectives, thoughts, desires, and intentions. And bilingualism helps with memory function, maths and much more.
There are also a LOT of myths about bilingualism and children, especially if a child is struggling in some way, it’s easy to blame the bilingualism but many of those myths are unfounded.
So, I was excited when Rebecca reached out and asked if we could do an interview talking about it all.
Rebecca is a speech therapist in the US and has been working with bilingual families for years. In the interview we talk about:
- The definitions when it comes to talking about raising bilingual and multilingual children.
- The common problems parents encounter and how to deal with them.
- The different strategies to raining bilingual kids
- Myth-busting the information parents are told, often by doctors and teachers!
- Tips on how to make raising your bilingual child fun and as easy as possible.
Rebecca Green trilingual speech-language therapist
Rebecca Green is a trilingual speech-language therapist who has worked with multilingual families for years. Because multilingualism has been so transformative in her own life, she loves supporting parents in raising bilingual families. Rebecca lives in the USA with her husband and their cat, Princess. Rebecca loves watching Netflix and highly recommends the TV shows The 3% (in Portuguese) and The House of Flowers (in Spanish). You can visit Rebecca at www.bilinguable.com or on IG @bilinguable Rebecca has a five day home language challenge that you can sign up for on her website!
The best way to raise a bilingual child worked for me.
My son has always been a big book lover and was reading early but writing isn’t his favourite thing to do, one way I encouraged him was using mini storybooks as I explain here. And teaching grammar can be very dry especially if you go down the workbook route. Instead, we went the Montessori way and taught grammar using the Grammar farm – my son seriously loved this!
Raising A Child In A Bilingual Home
My final tips would be:
- Decide how important it is to you to raise a bilingual child. If it’s not high on your priorities, let go of the guilt if your kids aren’t as fluent as you would like (or as fluent as other people expect them to be!)
- Know your reasons for wanting your child to be bilingual.
- As soon as your child is old enough, share those reasons with them.
- It’s not about the workbooks, make it fun!
If you are or even if you are thinking about raising a bilingual child, I’d love to know what approach you are taking and how it’s working for you.