How to Raise Children to Speak More than 2 Languages?
Bilingualism is beneficial to the brain at all stages, from increased concentration periods and increased ability to work to a greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in old age. To provide some insights on how we can best help our children learn a second language at home, a few key practices that can help parents raise a bilingual family.
- One person, one language is the most popular way to raise bilingual children, and as simple as it seems: everyone speaks to the child in the same language constantly and does not speak another language so that the child is not confused. But don't let the fear of not speaking the language completely stop you from using this method! Just speak it as much as you can, and you and your child can learn and improve together.
- One of the easiest and most effective ways is to store bilingual books. Don't underestimate the importance of reading books. Make sure there are many different books available in the minority language, especially your child's favorite. Let your child choose new books regularly to encourage them.
- Add more books to your library. Store your child's favorite books in different languages. And try to find dual language books with English text along with the language you are trying to learn.
- Read aloud to your child every day. Whether it's with their bedtime routine, or just randomly throughout the day, creating a love of reading is one of the best things you can do for your kids.
- Play music and sing songs. Try playing music and singing in a minority language. A melody helps children memorize words and phrases they would not otherwise be able to, and lyrics help expand words.
- Cook together. You can learn about other cultures by making different dishes from around the world. Learn new words while working together in the kitchen for cooking.
- Travel to places where a minority language is spoken. If you can, immerse your child in a language where everyone speaks the language.
- Present screen time in the minority language. If you allow screen time for your bilingual child, use it to your advantage. Let your child watch programs and play games in the minority language to get more exposure.
- Find a caregiver who speaks a minority language. If you are a working parent, finding a bilingual caregiver who speaks a minority language is a great way to give your children more exposure.
- Visit immersion preschools and grade schools. Enrolling your child in an immersion program for preschool and grade school is a great way to increase fluency - whether you speak a minority language at home or not!
- Buy them gifts to help them develop their language. For birthdays, Christmas, or other gift-giving holidays, buy language learning gifts for your kids - things like minority language books, or puzzles and games that encourage them to speak and use the language.