Questions to ponder when you want to raise a Bilingual child?
By Jia Ying Ng on 06/05/2023
Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/girl-in-red-dress-playing-a-wooden-blocks-3662667/
Raising a bilingual child is a rewarding experience that can provide many benefits, such as improved cognitive skills and increased cultural awareness. However, it can also be a challenging task that requires a lot of effort and dedication. As a parent, you may have questions about how to navigate the process of raising a bilingual child. In this blog post, we’ll explore some important questions to ponder when raising a bilingual child.
- Which language(s) should we use at home?
One of the first questions to consider when raising a bilingual child is which language(s) to use at home. If one parent is a native speaker of one language e.g. Chinese, it may be helpful to establish a language routine at home. The language routine can be one parent speaks mainly native language e.g. Chinese to the child while the other parent speaks English to the child. It is important to be consistent with the language routine to help your child develop fluency in both languages.
- How can we expose our child to both languages?
Exposing your child to both languages is crucial for their language development. There are many ways to do this, such as reading bilingual books, watching TV or videos in the both languages, and playing games that involve the second language such as Prep Junior which is a Chinese language learning app. You can also enroll your child in language classes or programs that provide opportunities for them to interact with other children who speak the second language.
- How do we help our child become fluent in both languages?
Becoming fluent in both languages requires consistent exposure to both languages and a supportive environment. For instance, parents can create opportunities for your child to use both languages in real-life situations, such as when talking to relatives who speak the second language or when traveling to countries where the second language is spoken. You can also seek out language immersion programs or bilingual schools to help your child develop proficiency in both languages.
- What challenges may arise when raising a bilingual child?
Raising a bilingual child can come with its own set of challenges. Your child may mix up the languages or experience delays in language development in one or both languages. It can also be challenging to find resources and support for language learning, especially if you are not a native speaker of the second language. It is important to be patient and persistent in overcoming these challenges, and to seek out resources and support as needed.
- How can we maintain our child’s bilingualism as they grow older?
Maintaining your child’s bilingualism as they grow older is important for their continued language development. Encourage your child to use both languages in their daily life, and provide opportunities for them to continue learning and practicing both languages. You can also seek out language classes, programs, or study abroad opportunities to help your child maintain their bilingualism.
In summary, raising a bilingual child requires careful consideration and planning. By pondering these important questions and seeking out resources and support to develop fluency in two languages, your child will reap the many benefits that come with bilingualism in the many years to come.