Raising bilingual children is no easy task! It takes a whole lot of intentionality and patience.
There are many reasons why parents might want to raise bilingual children. Some of which are: passing down culture and traditions, creating more opportunities for the future or moving to a different country.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no cost to you
I knew before I had children that I wanted them to know how to speak both English and Spanish fluently. Mostly because my mother taught me to do the same.
Whatever the reason, the benefits of raising bilingual children far outweigh any challenges you may face along the way. And trust me, it can definitely be challenging.
The key here is consistency.
Consistency is important because without it a child can get confused or lose interest. But if you are serious about teaching your child a second language, check out how we intentionally teach our small children.
How to Raise Bilingual Children
Our children are 1 & 3 years old, which means they are at an age where it is easier for them to learn two languages at once.
Studies have shown that children as young as 18 months can process both languages efficiently and can differentiate between the two. As they grow, these children begin to acquire both languages simultaneously and go through the same developmental stages as a child who is only learning one language.
However, this does not mean that you can’t start teaching your child another language if they are older. When small children learn their primary language, they do so by hearing and copying. The same goes for their second language. Older children will require more than just hearing and copying, and that’s ok. But if you have the opportunity to start them young, I would totally recommend it!
Speak Both Languages at Home
Having your child hear and speak both languages consistently at home is extremely helpful for them. Constant exposure to both languages helps them to expand their vocabulary as well as perfect their accents.
We do this at home by having my husband speak to the kids in English and me speak to them in Spanish.
Whenever I do say something in English, I will translate it into Spanish and vice versa. This helps them to tell the difference between both languages and also make connections.
Provide Resources for both languages
Providing resources in both languages is also very important. Books, toys, shows, curriculum, you name it, these items all help our children in some way to develop language skills. By giving your child access to another language through these resources, you will help them to grow in that language.
Here are some amazing resources that we love using:
Most of the time shows on Netflix or the like will have an option to change the language. Because my kids are already familiar with the context of the show, it’s easier for them to connect words to what they are seeing. We watch a lot of Super Simple Songs and they have great learning videos in Spanish for preschoolers!
Do Formal Language Classes
Because we homeschool, we dedicate one day a week to studying Spanish.
As a child, I learned Spanish before I learned English. But when I started school, English took over and it became harder to remember the Spanish I had learned. I believe Spanish classes would have made it easier to hold onto that language.
Whether it’s at home or outside of the home, having your child sit down for an intentional language class is a great idea. Not only will this help them to speak the new language but they will also learn reading and writing which can open up more opportunities in the future.
Nowadays, we have so many resources at our fingertips to help us educate our children. One of our favourites when it comes to learning a new language is the StudyCat App.
The StudyCat app is a fun language learning program for kids. The apps are filled with so many fun games and activities that make learning a new language fun and engaging. StudyCat has apps for learning English, Spanish, Chinese, German and French.
This program is perfect for schools or individuals doing homeschool and when you sign up through this link you will gain access to hundreds of learning resources, webinars, and expert articles!
Finally, finding support is so important!
It’s important to let people in your community know what your intentions are for raising bilingual children. If they are able to speak the second language, they can help give your children more exposure! It also helps with accountability.
You’d be surprised with how many people are willing to lighten your load if you just ask! That’s what communities are for.
Raising bilingual children doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. You can make it fun for everyone!
What are some tips you have for raising bilingual children?
Check out more parenting and homeschool tips here
I’d love to connect! Follow me on @kheylapehlke!
Also, don’t forget to Subscribe to stay up to date on all the latest product releases and blog posts and get access to a growing library of exclusive FREE printables!