Skip directly to content

6 ways to make your kids go BILINGUAL!

on Fri, 10/05/2013 - 14:50

6 ways of making your kids bilingual
I have been writing about the basics of bilingual learning before (you can find the article here), in this post I wanted to share with you the HOW TO DO IT?
Is it difficult raising your kids in a bilingual way?
Maybe you think it’s impossibile because you yourself never spoke a second language before?

I believe that everything can be done if it’s presented in a playful and consistent way, whether you speak two or more languages or simply one language.

The golden rule is this one:
Every kind of method of teaching two or more languages works as long as you manage to put effort and FUN in both languages. It's also very Important  that a kid encounters stimulating situations in which it experiences the importance of using both languages. Please let me explain better....

* Playing & crafting with the words "Hello" and "Bye"

Here are 6 tips that go good together with this golden rule:

Believe in that what you're doing...

You have to believe in that what you’re doing. Raising your kid in a bilingual way asks commitment to DO the second language at home with your child. It should be an interactive process between you, your child, and ofcourse other familymembers, in which All of you are learning.

Show your child the importance of the second language. 

This can be done in different kind of ways:
Speak the second language every day on a regular base, you’re the most important person for you child if you speak it then you set the example; 

Find playgroups/schools in your area that use the second language, seeing peers play and communicate stimulates a kid to really use the second language. Remember if you bring your child to a playgroup keep in mind that a child learn best when it feels safe in its environment, for example in my playgroups parents stay close to their kids something that is very much appreciated. Many times they also bring younger sibblings so it becomes a family hands on educational experience; 

If you have some extra money to spend you could find a mothertongue babysitter and if you don’t have the economical resource look around if you find a mom/ familymember in the country of the language and start a penpal contact or communicate with eachother through Skype. I let my daughter skype with her grandparents in the Netherlands twice a week, they don’t speak Italian so she is obbliged to speak in Dutch to make herself understandable! I can tell you this really works great :)


A language should be done, it should be brought ALIVE!

----> Through DailyLife objects and Routines
The best thing to do is to start introducing second language words to your kids that they already understand in their own language, for example the words YES and NO.
Sometimes I am a bit “sneaky” as a teacher when I - at the end of my workshops - present something that the kids really love, for example a marshmallow. "Would you like to eat it? Say Yes!"

Important is that the new things to  learn are within the understanding and recognization of the child, play in the second language with that what they experience during the day for example when they eat their RED apple, or go to PEE on the potty, and give a KISS to daddy before bedtime.

* Daily life routines and objects make learning very understandable for a young child

----> Through Stories
Reading out loud (picture)books - Click here to see the list of supereasy picturebooks I’ve used for many hours of reading moments. 

I started to read out loud right from birth, showing Chanel the pages of the books. When books were too difficult I simply invented my own story and read with my whole body!

------> Through Dramatic Play
After having read the story you could think of a way to act it out! Click here to see how I’ve acted out ‘Going on a BearHunt’ and ‘Little Red Ridinghood’.

-------> Through Listening
Also listening is extremely important in the process of learning a second language. Listening to songs, to get hold of the phonetic languagesystem of the language -
see for example this PLAYLIST 'BEST ENGLISH SONGS FOR KIDS' I’ve created for my daughter on YouTube.
(If you have special songs that you and your child love , let me know I will add them to the playlist!)

-------> Through Video or TV

You could also find some DVD’s or televisionprograms but I would use them if all other possibilities don’t seem to be enough. 
This is a good BBC TV show recommended to me by Expat since birth.
Our favorite DVD's to watch are the Little Einsteins and we also love Dora very much!

Think out of the Box to make a child understand what you’re trying to teach them...
There are many more ways to bring a language alive: puppets, movement activities (to learn about Up/Down, In/Out, etc), crafting  (to learn about colours and shapes) or what to think of babymassage (combining nurturing touch with nurseryrhymes).


Learn to say: "I believe in my child!"

Be prepared that people will not understand why you’re doing all of this effort. Learn to say No to people who say NO, read this article

Please don’t give up on this great possibility you’re giving your child of becoming a worldcitizen.
I had to stay strong in front of teachers who named my daughter ‘poor little girl’ just because she wasn’t speaking at the age of 3,5 years old. Now she manages really really well at school

* Millions of ways for learning a second language - making music, crafts, books, movementactivites


Good things take time....

Be patience, it will take some years before you’ll start to see the fruit of all the efforts you’re making now. But I promiss you, they’ll be visible and then I would love to hear your experience!!

* Telling a story:" Are you my Mommy?"  


Early Start

Once again: START AS EARLY AS POSSIBILE! (read HERE why!)

“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six.”

- Maria Montessori


Read and stay informed!

Watch this very informative interview I had with with 4 multilingual bloggers: - Stephanie
Piri Piri Lexicon - Annabel
The Educator’s spin on it - Kim
Miss Panda Chinese - Amanda 



Fabulous Resources!

General article on How to raise your kids in a bilingual way

How to raise bilingual children

Kids Bloggers' practical advices 

Spanglish Baby - Bilingualism in adoptive families

The Good Long Road - Books to read & Rainbow Activities

The Piri Piri Lexicon - Ipad apps Multilingual & Can code switiching affect your children?

Tiny Tapping Toes - Sing play and speak with your children in chinese

Miss Panda Chinese - Reading Goodnight Moon in Mandarin Chinese

Inculture Parent - Games to get your bilingual children talking

Now Click here to find my most favorite english books for second language learners from age 0 to 6!

Click here to read my general introduction on BILINGUAL LEARNING.

Post new comment