Our world is becoming increasingly global, and with this comes the necessity of speaking more than one language. More and more parents have begun realizing all the benefits that come from their child being bilingual. Apart from learning about other cultures, exposing a child to a second language will broaden their views, make them more open-minded, increase their IQ, and give them more and better job opportunities in the future.
So the question you might be asking yourself now is, how do I raise my child to be bilingual. Well, it’s not that difficult, and it can even be done by parents who only speak one language. Here are some great tips on raising a bilingual child.
- Start Immediately
The earlier you introduce a second language into your child’s life the better. You might think it’s too early to start doing this while your child can’t even speak one language, but that’s absolutely wrong. Children are capable of learning many languages at the same time, and it is never too early to expose them.
- Casual Introduction
The way in which a child learns a new language is significantly different than the way in which an adult does it. With adults, they have to sit down and study a language, and will have difficulties just ‘picking it up’. The opposite is true of children. Casually introducing a foreign language into their environment is the best way of making them learn it. The best way would be for a speaker of a language to speak as often as possible to and in front of the child, but if you are not a fluent speaker of a second language, you can also expose your child to other sources. A good idea would be to find a foreign TV channel with cartoons, or putting on some songs in foreign languages such as Backe Backe Kuchen or O Che Bel Castello.
- Hiring Help
If you can’t speak a second language, and you don’t want your child plopped in front of the TV all day, maybe you could consider getting help. A great option is hiring an au-pair – a nanny from another country. And even if you wouldn’t like having someone live with you, it’s a good idea to find a nanny that speaks a second language, and instructing them to only speak to your child in the second language. Even if it only is for a few hours a week, you will be surprised how fast your child will pick up common terms and start forming sentences.
- Encouraging Your Child
This probably goes without saying, but if you want your child to be bilingual, you should encourage them to learn. Maybe set up a rewards system or make it a competition. In short, do anything you can think of to make your child love the second language and enjoy learning and speaking it.