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 can keep an extended family bond going across continents and oceans, and most importantly, from one generation to the next.
Creative with their languages
Bilingual children often creatively make up words, using the knowledge they have of all their languages. It is fascinating to follow their language development as they pick and choose from the languages they know. Initially they may not always know the difference between them, but they soon become skilled code-switchers.
Better at learning languages
With the right support and exposure children are amazing at picking up languages. For example, when a family moves from one country to another, the parents are usually the ones to worry the most about how their kids will cope with a new language. However, the children are the ones that come out on top and learn the quickest and become native-like speakers. And the cheeky little talkers love correcting their mums and dads!
Switch effortlessly from one language to another
It is fascinating to observe a small child switch from speaking one language with one person to talking a different one with the next. This can be really mind-boggling, especially for monolingual adults. I remember with fondness how our lovely neighbour used to give me pocket money for being able to speak both Swedish and Finnish!
Can surprise you with language skills
You should never take for granted that a child cannot understand the language you speak. They may stand quietly next to you in a crowd where you think you speak a language only you and your companion knows – and then loudly comment on something you said! Also, if you are a parent who speaks a “secret” language with your partner, I can inform you that your kid probably understands a lot more of your “secret” communication than you think!
What do you love about your bilingual child?
This post was written for the Valentine’s Day and February edition of the Raising Multilingual Children blogging carnival organised by Annabelle from The PiriPiri Lexicon, this month hosted by Adam from Bilingual Monkeys.