“Bringing up a Bilingual Child” is an easy-to-read handbook for parents raising bilingual children in families with more than one language. The book offers parents and carers of bilingual children helpful advice on how to make sure that the children grow up to become confident speakers of the family languages.
The subtitle of the book is “How to Navigate the Seven Cs of Multilingual Parenting: Communication, Confidence, Commitment, Consistency, Creativity, Culture and Celebration.” These are the seven central principles of multilingual parenting.
The goal is to raise children who can communicate in the family languages. To achieve this, parents should discuss with each other to agree on how to go about it. They should also tell family, friends and other people their children come in contact with about the family’s intention to pass on the family languages.
It is important to feel confident about the decision to raise your children to become bilingual. For this parents need to be aware of all the many myths surrounding bilingual children and families, as well as bilingualism and languages in general. Armed with the facts it is much easier to answer doubters’ questions. By learning the family languages the children will also gain confidence in their own identity and background.
Once the decision has been made to bring up bilingual children, the family needs to stay committed to the common goal. Parents (and others who are involved in the process) will need to be prepared to put in the time and effort needed to pass on the family languages.
I firmly believe that consistency is one of the corner stones of successfully raising bilingual children. With this I am not saying that it cannot be done in any other way, but that the chances of success are far greater if, for the majority of the time, the language use in the family is consistent.
No family is the same and each multilingual family encounters different challenges. This is when creativity is needed – and I believe everyone has a creative side when it comes to the crunch. Parents of bilingual children will have to come up with creative ways of keeping the minority language alive: how to motivate the children to use all their languages; what to do when they stop speaking a language; how to make language learning fun and interesting.
Language and culture go hand in hand. It is important to offer your children not only the gift of your language, but also the richness of your culture. Knowing the language gives children the Understanding your cultural background is an important part of everyone’s identity.
Having many languages in the family is something to be really proud of! Document and celebrate the successes your children make when they are learning the family languages. And what better way to show your pride than to arrange an annual party for family and friends!
Standard and Special Edition
“Bringing up a Bilingual Child” is available in two slightly different versions. The Special Edition contains all the same information as the Standard One plus two additional chapters: “50 ways to engage your child to speak the minority language” and “50 encouraging thoughts for parents raising bilingual children”. In addition to these two chapters every purchase of the Special Edition entitles the buyer to free access to additional resources on our website, equivalent to the first year basic membership.
The Special Edition is now SOLD OUT – please see below for options to purchase the Standard Edition either as a paperback or a Kindle version.