Raising bilingual children is both exciting and exhausting. When bringing up children of different languages in a monolingual home, it is a mixture of language learning in many different ways.
Children, by nature, want to learn. Indeed, the more they are around people that speak other languages, the more likely they will pick up on that language.
However, it is not that simple. Language learning is a cognitive development of a brain process. In raising bilingual children in a monolingual home is hard at times.
What are some ways you could use as parents to bring up bilingual children?
Raising bilingual children is essential for language development
One of the means to add foreign language learning is to attend bilingual story times at your local libraries or community centers, if available. Perhaps, there are limitations in your area to incorporate more bilingual learning.
In that case, consider looking for closed-captioned educational videos or movies at your local library. Consequently, if you speak a foreign language than another person at home, try to focus on simple words or phrases with your children.
Why is this so important?
Mostly, it is because raising bilingual children from an early age exceeds the learning experience. Bilingual children will perform better in school and boost their problem-solving skills.
Besides, children who learn more than one language than their native one retain more vocabulary, improve reading skills, and develop a cultural sense of others around them. Moreover, you might include hiring a babysitter or nanny that speaks that foreign language.
Surrounding children and yourself with those that speak the language are not quite language immersion. However, it is something that supports language learning.
Bilingual language learning benefits everyone in the household
As you begin to include more literature and music into the learning experience of your children, you might also consider bilingual books. If you start with a simple word or phrase in the foreign language, then you might want to move onto more conversational phrases.
Children will want to learn as you allow more opportunities to learn a new language. Perhaps, bilingual children start talking in another language to other family members.
Take this opportunity to nurture and encourage a new milestone in learning. Starting with little phrases will help children to repeat them and use them while having conversations with others at home.
While some members of the household may not yet understand, nurturing the learning experience is the most valuable lesson.
Why is this a benefit for all at home?
Mostly, everyone in the household helps with language acquisition. Children learn best from their parents and peers.
A natural aspect of children is to be curious and experiment. Hence, they will try to talk and have conversations with you.
Speaking many languages adds cultural value to all members of the family
By simply having the opportunity to sit down and chat with your children is great learning experience. Imagine when they interact with you while learning another language?
It is a powerful way to engage children with the world besides what they live every day. If parents learn another language somewhere else, it is an enjoyable experience to pass onto your kids.
Nothing is more desirable than to hand down heritage and cultural knowledge from generation to generation. So, why not give children a chance to inherit a new language?
It is merely a new way to see the world around them. As children learn another language, they are more aware of other traditions. Bilingual children, in general, tend to have more self-esteem.
How are bilingual children more aware of culture?
They learn new habits from their parents or perhaps by reading literature. Sometimes, just by learning another language presents children the opportunity to find out more about a new country, culture, or traditions.
Learning new cultures is your chance as a parent or caregiver to offer the guidance to your children to cultivate the learning experience.
Raising bilingual children in a monolingual household is an enduring task. It takes patience and consistency on your part to continue learning. It may also suggest that you have limited access to materials and resources.
However, it is not a lost cause. Perhaps, learning another language is in other creative ways such as library trips, online learning, or even online reading.
In any case, don’t give up in raising bilingual children because it’s worth it when they grow up.
This article originally appeared on Spanish4Kiddos Educational Resources: Raising bilingual children in a monolingual household.
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