How to Support Bilingual Children

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 bilingualĀ 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. The Spoken Word There are many different ways that you can support your child’s bilingualism. It all starts with speech, the way we all learn our mother tongues. Speak in that language as much as possible, and encourage your child to speak it too. If there are no other native speakers around you, try to find media that you can use, such as films, age-appropriate television programmes, music and radio. This may be easier for some languages than others, of course. You can ask people who are still in the country where the language is spoken to send you material where that is possible. Put on songs with catchy lyrics in the target language, to get them humming along. It helps them to think in that language. Literature The next means of support for bilingualism is literature. Initially, a child will need to be read to, and I advise that you continue to do so for as long as possible, even after they have learnt to read. You can make it a fun part of your evening routine before bedtime. There will come a point, of course, when the … Continue reading How to Support Bilingual Children