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Mar 152017
 
How to use "monolingual toys" to motivate bilingual children

  “How do I introduce another language for my toddler?” “How can I motivate my little one to speak my language?” “How to have fun when practicing the kids’ minority language?” These are questions I often get in the queries sent to our team of Family Language Coaches. One of the recommendations I often give […]

Feb 222017
 
8 tips to boost your family’s multilingual journey [guest post]

Today I am delighted to introduce you to our new Family Language Coach, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, a.k.a, Miss Panda Chinese. Amanda is a successful language instructor with over 15 years’ teaching experience in Taiwan, the U.S., Morocco, Canada, and Ecuador. She now lives in the U.S. with her husband and two bilingual children.  Enjoy Amanda’s excellent […]

Feb 082017
 
Grandparents as language support for bilingual children

As parents raising bilingual children we know how important it is to give our kids as varied an exposure to their languages as possible. This becomes even more crucial if we are passing on a minority language. Building a network of people who can support us in this task is important and a good and […]

Jan 182017
 
Bilingual children – no language confusion!

  We have answered more than two hundred questions on the topic of raising bilingual children, and the worry that gets mentioned most frequently is whether kids growing up to learn more than one language can get confused by the languages in their family and environment. Again and again we emphasize that this is a […]

Jan 042017
 
How to be successful at raising bilingual kids

This is the time of year when we are all encouraged to make resolutions to improve different aspects of our lives. As parents of bilingual kids we are no exception to the expectation of making promises to change our behaviour to ensure that our children grow up to be bilingual. However, apparently only 8% of all […]

Nov 232016
 
Classic Arabic vs your local dialect – which one should your children learn?  [guest post]

This article has been contributed by Tarek Rabie, founder of Hekayatona, a digital platform committed to encouraging children to read and learn Arabic. For more help and advice on how you can best support your child’s Arabic learning journey you can visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.  One of the biggest challenges […]

Oct 192016
 
12 discouraging comments about raising a bilingual child – and how to reply

As parents of bilingual children, many of us have been there: finding ourselves in a situation where others give us advise on what is best for our children when it comes to their languages, and how we should behave as a family. Sometimes we get brilliant ideas on how to succeed, but this is unfortunately […]

Oct 122016
 
7 challenges and solutions for raising a bilingual child

Parents who want to bring up their kids to speak the family languages can learn a lot from those families who have been successful at bringing up bilingual children. However, I also think that a great deal can be learnt from parents whose children grew up not becoming fluent in the family’s minority language. It is equally […]

Oct 052016
 
Bilingual family dilemmas

Living in a bilingual family brings with it a lot of joy – but also some particular dilemmas, some of them funny, but quite challenging nonetheless! How to address everyone in the family at the same time You would think asking everyone to come and eat would be straight-forward. In a bilingual family you end up […]

Sep 212016
 
5 thoughts to boost the confidence of parents of bilingual children

As parents most of us have an ideal picture of what we want our children to be like when they grow up. Some of us are more specific than others with regards to the personality traits and behaviours we wish for our children, but for most of us ‘happy’, ‘honest’ and ‘confident’ feature high on […]

Sep 122016
 
40 ways to motivate bilingual children to speak the minority language

Babies and toddlers During the early years of your child’s “talking career” you may be holding a monologue for much of the time, but this is when you set the foundation for the language and there is a lot you can do to encourage your little one to start talking. Make talking your minority language […]

Sep 072016
 
From the diary of a bilingual mother, part 20 (penned by daddy)

  Fantastic news from the father of our fictional multilingual family, who are living the very real highs and lows of millions of bilingual mothers, fathers and children across the world.  They welcome the latest addition to their family on what is the last page from the diary for now. Don’t despair, though, there will […]

Aug 312016
 
5 thoughts about consistency when using OPOL (one parent, one language)

“We are doing OPOL and I find it impossible to stay consistent in my language use – is my child’s bilingualism doomed?” – this question (or perhaps a less dramatic version of it) often pops up in forums for parents raising bilingual kids. Among the replies you will find on one hand those who state that […]

Aug 242016
 
“Does my bilingual child have a language delay?”

Amongst the most frequently expressed worries in different forums for parents raising bilingual children are concerns about potential delays in language development. Several research studies have found that bilingualism does not cause language delay (read more in e.g Dual Languages Development and Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning by Paradis, Genesee & […]

Jul 272016
 
10 things parents of bilingual children do differently

As parents we want to do what’s best for our children – this affects how we behave in our everyday lives when it comes to choice of anything from food and clothing to school and the place we live in. In addition, parents of bilingual children have one more aspect to take into consideration: the […]

Jul 132016
 
Bilingual children: how to boost language skills during holidays

This is the time of the year when our social media feeds get filled with pictures of families holidaying – either on a relaxing staycation in their own home or out and about in the country or abroad. Whatever way you decide to spend your family holidays, it is always a great opportunity for bilingual […]

Jul 062016
 
Multilingual families – a force for good in a world less united

We live in a world where those who try to create divisions between people of different countries, creeds and cultures are getting more and more vocal and who try to disrupt the stability in way that leads to discrimination, abuse, displacement of families, fear and even to devastating loss of lives. As a parent and […]

Jun 152016
 
Translanguaging as a way of enhancing learning

This week’s topic is another manifestation of bilingual living: translanguaging. If you look up the term in Wikipedia, it is described as “the dynamic process whereby multilingual language users mediate complex social and cognitive activities through strategic employment of multiple semiotic resources to act, to know and to be” Clear? For linguists maybe, but not […]

Jun 082016
 
Raising a bilingual child in Spanish and English, a non-native language [guest post]

It is with joy I welcome today’s guest poster, Diana Sampedro, a Spanish mother and language English-teacher who is raising her daughter to become bilingual in Spanish and English, which is not Diane’s native langauge. She has written a book about her experience, giving advice to other parents who want to follow her example and pass […]

May 252016
 
From the diary of a bilingual mother, part 17

Follow the joys and challenges of our fictional bilingual mother and her multilingual family with hubby, 6-year-old son S and 3-year-old daughter D. Monday Only three months to go and we will be a family of five – I am so happy we went for a bigger house when we moved, otherwise we would be […]

May 042016
 
Multilingual families – why a child might grow up monolingual

I love the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” – for the purpose of the topic at hand, I would like to expand it to “It takes two villages to raise a bilingual child”. This is of course not strictly true, but it does describe the need for extra resources and […]

Apr 272016
 
Professor François Grosjean - on bilingualism, language mode and identity

Fantastic interview with Professor François Grosjean, my all-time favourite specialist on bilingualism, conducted by Fabrice Jaumont, Education Attaché at the Cultural Services in New York. The video is brimming with useful information, to-the-point observations and helpful advice on raising bilingual children, not forgetting interesting insights into Professor Grosjean’s own bilingual background. The interview lasts about […]

Apr 252016
 
Top tips for motivating bilingual children to speak their languages

Choosing the topic for this month’s Raising Multilingual Children blogging carnival was actually very easy. “What do parents ask me most about?” I pondered and instantly I thought “How to motivate my child to speak the minority language?” My fellow bloggers – who all have their own bilingual children – have written new posts giving […]

Apr 202016
 
Motivating a bilingual child: Pricken the Swedish-speaking kitten

  “How to motivate my child to speak the minority language?” is one of the most frequently asked questions to our panel of Family Language Coaches. This challenge will also be the topic of the up-coming Raising Multilingual Children blogging carnival, which I will host here next week. Motivating a child to speak the minority […]

Apr 132016
 
From the diary of a bilingual mother, part 16

Snapshots from the everyday life of our (growing) fictional multilingual family, written by a bilingual mother. Monday Feeling a lot better, no morning sickness anymore but still extremely tired, just like with the previous two. I fall asleep on the sofa most evenings and I am so happy that hubby has taken over most of […]

Apr 062016
 
Why language skills matter – to me, you and our children, and the world

“Why have you chosen to write about bilingual children and languages, surely there are more important things in the world – why don’t you write about how important science is?” – this is a question I once got in a comment. The simple answer is – I believe I know quite a lot about bilingual […]

Mar 302016
 
My bilingual parenting journey – no regrets but a few I-wish-I-had-knowns

I am very happy with how my daughters have grown up to speak several languages, and I am looking forward to supporting the coming generation of our family in the quest of learning to speak more than one language. Looking back, there are certainly a few things I would have liked to have known when […]

Mar 232016
 
Receptive bilingualism – understanding but not speaking a language

When discussing the language skills of children in multilingual families, you occasionally come across the situation where a child has learnt to understand a language, but is unable (or unwilling) to speak it. Quite often you will find this described as passive bilingualism – I have used this expression myself, until Professor Grosjean pointed out […]

Mar 162016
 
Is it too late to introduce your language to your child?

“You must start speaking your language to your baby from day one!” “She is already three and you haven’t started yet? She won’t sound like a native!” “If you don’t introduce the language before he goes to school, you have missed your chance!” “Older than seven and he will not get fluent!” “Do you really […]

Mar 092016
 
Bilingual children: one language at a time, or both at once?

When more than one language is spoken in a family, parents in face the choice of whether their child should learn both (or all) languages in parallel or if they should let the child’s skills in one language become established before starting to learn the second (and possibly a further) language. Sequential or simultaneous bilingualism The […]

Mar 022016
 
From the diary of a bilingual mother, part 15

Exciting news from the real life of our fictional multilingual family! Monday Sorry for not writing for a long time, I have not been very well … or actually, I am feeling fantastic, over the moon to be precise! Yes, you guessed it, we are having baby number three! If all goes well, there will […]

Feb 172016
 
Bilingualism – choice or necessity?

Growing up bilingual is another aspect of my early childhood which was a given for me (last week I wrote about how I took for granted my right to speak my mother tongue at school). I really had no choice, as my mother spoke Finnish with me and my father Swedish. They did not have […]

Feb 102016
 
I had the right to use my mother tongue at school

A bit of an obvious statement, you may think. Unfortunately, it is not. Instead, it is a problem many children in the developing world still face: not being able to attend school in their mother tongue. United Nation’s International Mother Language Day is celebrated on Sunday the 21st of February and this year’s theme emphasises […]

Feb 032016
 
What makes bilingual children so lovable?

Every single child is lovable and should be loved, just for existing in this world. Today, my list is about the specific lovability factor of bilingual children, as they are my favourite topic: Create and maintain relationships The more languages bilingual children know, the wider their network of contacts is. By learning their family languages children […]

Jan 272016
 
Early Bilingual Language Development: Facts and Fictions [guest post]

I am delighted to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, Dr. Mary-Pat O’Malley-Keighran. She is a lecturer, author, researcher, speech and language therapist, and lover of all things to do with speech, language, and communication. She has over 20 years’ experience of working with families and 14 years of teaching speech and language students. In her […]

Jan 132016
 
Reading with the multicultural child [guest post]

It’s a great joy and honour to have Katey Howes join my blog as a guest today! Katey is a mom of three, children’s author and literacy advocate who blogs about raising kids who love to read at Kateywrites. Katey is a native English speaker who studied in Madrid, and now makes New Jersey her […]

Dec 302015
 
Multilingual Parenting: Top 10 posts of 2015 for parents of bilingual children

The countdown to year 2016 has started, so let’s look at the year which is coming to an end – here are the top posts of 2015, starting with number 10: 10. Passing on a non-native language to your child, part 1: Considerations Part 2 of this series is on choosing the Family language strategy and […]

Dec 102015
 
Media resources for raising your little global citizen

What we need more than anything in today’s and tomorrow’s world is respect, understanding, appreciation of diversity and a global mindset. What we can do as parents to fill this need, is to ensure that our children grow up to become respectful global citizens. Knowing another language increases our reach and understanding, but it is […]

Dec 022015
 
Raising a bilingual child: alternatives to pretending not to understand

What to do when your bilingual child avoids using the minority language and speaks to you in the majority language instead? I am all for keeping the communication going with your little one, no matter what, so you will not be surprised to hear that I do not recommend pretending to not understand what your […]

Aug 312015
 
Bilingual children and long-distance family relationships

Many bilingual children have at least one side of their extended family living fairly far away, often on the “other side of the world”. Visits are possible perhaps only once a year, or even more seldom if at all, so it is essential to find other ways to connect. Maintaining those long-distance relationships to grandparents, […]