According a survey, the average British person will say sorry 1.9m times in their lifetime. We say sorry for stepping on toes, sorry for having our toes stepped on, for bumping into people and for being bumped into. Can you get through the day without uttering that word? I doubt it. How and when do you teach your children to say sorry, and is it right to make children apologise?
How should we speak to our children? A question that comes up again and again. Should we use baby talk, words like din-dins for a meal and so on, when they are very small? Should we simplify matters during their childhood and avoid longer words and certain types of vocabulary that we regard as more advanced and therefore more complicated? Is one word enough to convey a meaning, or should we use synonyms? Does dumbing down language for kids help or hinder their development?
The second in our three part series on bilingualism – Millie Slavidou makes the case for bilingualism here, and in the next post, will take a look at children with special needs.
Today Millie has suggestions on how to support bilingual children, particularly in the tween and teenage years. This is a tricky age to keep them motivated, as they are often immersed in the local majority language, and may not be interested in their minority language.
If you bring your children up speaking more than one language, what is the most common reaction that you hear from other people? For me, it has always been, “Oh, how marvellous! Children are little sponges, aren’t they? They pick up languages so easily”. As a mother of an 11 year old and a 13 year old, it now takes all my strength to resist saying, “No. Children aren’t sponges, and bilingualism isn’t that easy”. Since I’m much too polite to say it, I’ll write about it, in the hope that it makes some people stop and think before enraging someone like me.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and it covers a large number of disciplines. STEM subjects are strongly male-dominated, both in the workplace and in our schools, and it is my firm belief that this needs to change.
“If you don’t eat your meat, you won’t get any pudding”, might have worked for Pink Floyd, but if your child is a fussy eater, you’ll know [stubborn face] when you see it!