Bilingualism is a process, it doesn’t simply happen… But we can work at it.
To enable your child to speak a language well, you have to communicate as much as you can. The more opportunities your child has to practice a language the faster this language will be learnt.
Here is what counts in successful language learning:
|Set your goal||Decide what bilingualism suits your child and your family situation. Do you like to have your children just understand the family language or enable them to speak, read and/or write it as well? Only when the child grows into an adult, who is fully functional in the family language, he/she might be able to teach it to his/her own children.|
|Your Commitment||If you speak in a language other than English, stick to it! Be persistent, perseverant and patient.|
|Lots of Encouragement||Encourage the child to speak in the other language.|
|Frequent Repetition||Repeat the child’s words in the correct form.|
|Different Means||Follow up with music, books, stories, tapes and computer software in your language. Create language games according to your child’s development. Make your own collection of rhymes and riddles that you can use over and over again.|
|Language Routines||Invent a language routine. For instance, when you go to the shops or on a walk, when travelling in the car or brushing teeth, use the family language to tell certain stories or speak about certain topics.|
|Speak your language properly||Parents and other adults are role models for their children’s language behaviour. Talk about your life, about what you see, feel, want, like and share your thoughts.Speak your language well. Use the appropriate names and make whole, short sentences. Develop your own language skills by reading, talking and writing in your language.
And please, don’t mix your languages!
|Broad range of Conversation Partners||Show the child that other people speak your language, too.The child needs to hear the language from many different speakers (old, young, male and female voices, various accents and dialects, different media like phone, radio, tape). Enlist the help of family members of your language, like grandparents.
Mix with other people who speak your language in different situations and environment. The child learns how adults communicate while listening to communication between same language speakers.
|Make it Fun||Support the child at its own pace. Focus on the fun involved and avoid stress. Try to give your child incentives that work.Enjoy every little progress and focus on small success.|
|Kids Language Clubs||Join one of our Kids Language Clubs or become a Language Coordinator for your Language.|
|Take your language to school||Let teachers, other parents and children in your child’s school know, what languages your family speak.Support teachers in preparing classes in your language.
Ask teachers to set up bilingual term projects, for instance if your child can deliver a project about snails in your language. This could not only enrich the language classes for other children at school, it also increases academic cognitive language abilities in your child and is at the same time a great preparation for TEE in the family language.