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Parenting Tips and Advice for Raising Bilingual Children

Apr 19, 2008
The world is becoming smaller and cultures are almost merging. Before, transport and communication made it difficult for people to connect. Today, it is a common occurrence to come across people of different races. Because of these cross cultural encounters, many individuals find spouses of different racial heritages.

Some families are also relocating to other countries. In such cases, these parents are more than ever in need of a good parenting tip. This is because these parents need to contemplate the need to raise their children in a bilingual environment. Why is bilingualism necessary in some families and what parenting tip do bilingual parents need?

Raising kids in bilingual environment has more advantages than disadvantages. This parenting tip is highly recommended by some bilingual parents for a variety of reasons. Some parents simply feel that bilingual children simply have broader opportunities, better cultural understanding and greater awareness of the global community as bilingual speakers. A parenting tip to encourage bilingualism however should not be given lightly. There are some difficulties involved. Someone who accepts this parenting tip should be aware that some children may find learning two languages difficult or may insist on one language just to fit in. Bilingual parents therefore should consider another parenting tip or a couple of other useful ideas.

Make a Family Decision

It is a conscious decision you have to make as a team and as a family. It is a highly recommended parenting tip that both parents feel comfortable about the arrangement. Otherwise one parent may not be supportive at all. Neglecting this parenting tip may make matters unpleasant for one parent and for the children.

Start Early and Be Consistent

Begin early and start while your kid is still young. Some parents may recommend that bilingualism should be introduced as early as infancy. They also offer the additional parenting tip of consistency. Do not stray from your resolve and your methods for bilingual training. At the same time, avoid fierce criticism. This may only push your children into dismissing the minor language.

Use Techniques

Used tried and tested techniques. Some parents both insist on speaking the minority language while at home and allow their children to speak the majority language while outside. In some families, one parent speaks the minority language while the other speaks the majority language when speaking to their children.

Be More Creative

Experiment and be creative. Instead of just using proven language teaching techniques, you can also use books, video CDs and playgroups to teach children the minority language. You can also enroll your children in a bilingual school or hire some help who can speak the minority language fluently. You should also consider visiting or constantly communicating with relatives of the minority speaking parent. If there is a bilingual family nearby, make friends with them and introduce your kids to theirs.

Consult Experts

Consult child psychologists and language experts. This may be especially relevant for parents who may have a child who has language difficulties. If your child has difficulty speaking at a very advanced age, it may be an indication of deeper problems and should not be simply dismissed as difficulty with managing two languages.
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