Overcoming the challenges of raising multilingual kids

January 29, 2015

Raising multilingual kids can be challenging, but it can open up a world of opportunity to your child. However, there are many questions that arise when it comes to the logistics of raising a multilingual child. Here are some tips for parents who are interested in raising multilingual children.

Overcoming the challenges of raising multilingual kids

Have a plan

To begin your kids on a multilingual track, you need to have a plan. How many languages do you want your child to speak? How fluent would you like them to be? Do you want them to learn both reading and writing? Which parent speaks which language with them? Keep an open dialogue about this with your kids and agree on the goals you want to reach.

Stay consistent

It's important to commit to your plan as a family and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Mixing languages can be confusing for children, so set aside specific times where each language is used and be sure to stick to it. If they get used to one language being spoken in the house, they won't learn as quickly; set up different language zones and times so that they get equal practice with each.

Include tutoring

If you find that your schedule is too busy to sit with your kids and help them learn another language, it could be helpful to hire a tutor to teach them the grammar and language skills they need. Tutors can be great for many reasons. For example, conversing with another person can help kids feel more confident in speaking the target language with someone other than a parent.

Use positive reinforcement

Your kids will likely make a lot of mistakes as they are getting comfortable with new languages. Remember to stay positive and be encouraging! Praise and approval are much stronger motivators than negativity and criticism. Say helpful things and consistently give them positive feedback and recognize the hard work they are doing.

Raising kids to speak multiple languages isn't always easy, but it can be extremely rewarding for everyone in the family. Remember to get your children started at a young age and to always be encouraging as they are trying to learn a new language. They will be much more receptive if they feel supported in their efforts.

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