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Raising Multilingual Children

Permalink 18/12/09 08:48, by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Parenting, Child Development, Preschool Children, Family, Kids Activities , Tags: bilingual, foreign language, language, minority language, multilingual

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Babies growing up in a multilingual environment are able to learn more than one language at a time giving them an amazing skill that they can undoubtedly benefit from throughout life.  If you wish to encourage your children to learn more than one language, then make sure you lay the ground rules.  Where parents are fluent in more than one language, there are various approaches to a second (or further) language, most commonly 'one language one person' where each parent sticks to a single language, and 'minority language at home' where parents use the minority language in the home setting, but the common language outside.  You can even introduce a new language through a nanny or au pair - learning languages is best done from a native speaker although this is not absolutely necessary.

Research suggests that for children to learn a language, they must be exposed to it for 30% of the time that they are awake.  This is supported by the fact that the success rate for teaching more than four languages simultaneously falls significantly.

Immerse your children in your chosen languages from birth; don't just speak the languages but buy toys, books, games and puzzles that support the different languages that you are introducing.  This will increase exposure and reinforce learning.

Raising your child in a multilingual environment may lead to frustration at times and you may worry that your children's peers are learning language at a faster rate.  Don't despair - even monolingual families suffer frustration in language learning, and your children will come out the other side with enviable skills.

 



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