The Non-Bilingual Parent’s Guide to Raising a Bilingual Child

Technology has drastically transformed the way the world interacts, with the normalisation of the internet supporting uninterrupted global connectivity. Today, speaking more than one language unlocks a plethora of opportunities, and as ‘plastic’ learners, babies and young children have a marked advantage when it comes to mastering a foreign tongue.

Linguistic research has shown that babies aged 0-6 months are better at a host of key language learning skills, including accepting new sounds, recognising patterns, identifying subtle differences and adopting better pronunciation later in life.

For children that grow up around multiple languages, bilingualism comes naturally. But what about if your child isn’t organically exposed to another language? Becoming bilingual is a different process, but one that’s equally as attainable.

Here’s how:

Invest in child-friendly resources

As mentioned earlier, children navigate a different learning experience to adults. For this reason, resources that have been developed specifically for young learners are far more effective than adult versions. With BilinguaSing classes , kids engage in a dynamic curriculum of singing, music and movement classes. This child friendly approach makes learning fun, stimulating and innate.

It’s all about immersion

Language acquisition is a finite quality, and research suggests that children need to be exposed to a foreign tongue for 30% of their waking time in order to become fluent. Boost their learning curve by making an effort to incorporate foreign conversation into your home dialect. Build up a social network by enrolling your child in developmental language programmes like BilinguaSing, where they can interact with learners of their own age group. You can also pepper their living environment with references to their minority language – think everything from books and movies to toys and music. BilinguaSing’s range of children’s CDs are designed with this exact goal in mind.

Make a family agreement

When the education of your child’s at stake it’s important that the effort is universal. Every member of the family should be on-board, including siblings. Remember, if one child is pursuing bilingualism it’s important that their siblings are supportive. They may become jealous, so consider offering them alternative hobbies. Ideally, encourage all children in the household to learn. It’ll simulate an organic home learning environment, and make it all the more fun.

Be patient

Children are incredibly accomplished learners, but mastering a new language doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, and remember that every child’s experience will be different. Sometimes they might blow you away with their bilingualism, and other times they may appear to be making frustratingly slow progress.

Research has shown that bilingual children are better at focussing their attention, solving complex problems and planning than their monolingual counterparts. If you want to enrich both the social and economic opportunities of your little ones, a second language is an incredibly valuable asset.

Want to kick-start your child’s journey to speaking Spanish or French? Get in touch with us today to find out more about BilinguaSing’s unique, three-tiered, sensory music and movement classes for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and primary school children. Tailored to meet the developmental stages of your child, participants are taken on a magical multilingual adventure that will spark a lifelong passion for language.

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