Raising a Super Hero

a blog by Penyo Pal

Getting started with raising a bilingual child

Congratulations and thank you! You are about to give your child one of the most incredible gifts for their future.  They are going to learn how to tackle something challenging, think in a global sense and venture out of their comfort zone. The icing on top is gaining a unique insight into another culture as the world continues to become flatter in terms of opportunities.  As you get started, here are some tips on how to go about it.

Keep it fun! 

Dale Carnegie wisely warned ”people rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing” and this needs to be taken to heart when it comes to teaching kids a second or third language. It’s easy to turn kids off of a language if it’s associated with being boring or too difficult.  We are big proponents of looking at what your child is interested in right now and finding ways to introduce language in that form.  For example a lot of the children that find our product useful already loved playing games on their iPads and parents’ mobile devices beforehand. No child learns the same way so take advantage of free trial classes, free apps and the library to test out different media for delivery.  Nothing wrong with a little experimentation to see what makes learning language fun for your child!

Set realistic and clear goals 

You will be surprised just how far a few phrases and an interest in other cultures can get your children. This is not saying

Polyglot Benny Lewis says:

[Fluency] may be considered an abstract quality so it can mean more or less to you, but whatever it is, picture it very clearly in your mind and aim for that rather than for some mystical word that you can blame for being too high of a standard.  I’m not saying that you can use semantics to belittle the concept of fluency into nothing; just that it is an achievable goal for us mere mortals.
Walk the talk 

It’s not enough for kids to learn a new language. Mom & Dad need to be a role model and commit to joining the kids on this adventure of discovery together.  Before you shudder at the thought of paying for a “Mommy and Me” language class, don’t worry, you are not alone. Start small by buying a notebook and asking the kids to teach you a new word every day.  It provides the kids the chance to review their learning,

Be a cheerleader! 

Your children may have rough days with language.  You may find yourself a bit of an anomaly amongst your fellow Moms and Dads.  Just keep in mind this is normal, and all parents will encounter this whether it’s soccer practice or piano lessons or even just learning to read English.

Christina Bosemark
Raising multilingual children requires patience, and there are going to be times when doubt sneaks in. As with most aspects of parenting, it's a long term commitment and there will be ups and downs. But remember, that's happening to the parents of the monolingual children too!
Good luck! 
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