For many parents, the importance of understanding, speaking, and reading in more than one language is an important facet of their household. The benefits of raising children to be bilingual speak for themselves, and there’s no doubt that it can help expand their ability to communicate with the world around them and grow closer as a family.
If teaching your children more than one language in your house is something of great value to you and your family, then it’s important to learn some of the tips and tricks for properly introducing a multitude of languages to your children. Furthermore, to understand how to properly raise your children to be bilingual, we have to look at the mistakes parents make in attempting to teach their children more than one language at a time.
Bilingual Kidspot recently shared a helpful list of the biggest, and most common mistakes parents make when attempting to raise their children to be bilingual. In understanding the mistakes we make as multilingual parents, we can fully grasp how to effectively raise our children to speak, read, and understand more than one language at a time!
Let’s take a look at the list of common mistakes parents make when raising bilingual kids:
1. Don’t assume your children will automatically become bilingual
The first of the most common mistakes bilingual parents make when raising their kids is assuming that because they are bilingual their kids will be as well. It’s not true. In order to learn a language, a lot of hard work, and time is required. Especially if you want to teach multiple at once. If you don’t take the time to work at properly developing your kids’ ability to speak or understand a language, you run the risk of raising children who are passive bilingual. In other words, they’ll be able to understand what you’re saying, but unable to communicate back in that language.
Don’t get complacent and think a one-sided conversation is okay. Encourage your kids to speak and respond in more than one language. Work hard to ensure that they’re developing their skills in regards to speaking and understanding.
2. TV doesn’t teach them language
Language requires human interaction to be properly learned and developed. Watching TV is not a valid substitute for teaching your kids any language. Sure, there are worse ways to learn a few words, but it’s simply nowhere near as effective or useful of a learning tool for developing proper learning skills. Human interaction is far more stimulating and the only true way to master a language.
3. Investing in expensive toys and materials
Like TV, expensive toys and materials aimed towards teaching your kids a new language just aren’t that effective. The only surefire way to teach and cultivate language is by encouraging interaction and conversation with fluent speakers of that language. Save yourself the time and money and don’t buy into expensive learning materials. There are some that aren’t a bad alternative for fortifying their skills, but a cheaper more effective way to teach fluency in any language is to interact, learn, and converse.
4. Correcting your child too often
Critiquing and correcting your child too often can disrupt the flow of conversation and in turn discourage their overall learning. Of course, you’ll need to correct them from time to time, especially if they’ve made a big mistake when speaking or writing. That doesn’t mean you should butcher their sentences all the time and throw them off track. In other words, parents, just let the little mistakes go and correct them on the big things from time to time. They’ll eventually get the hang of the little things in time.
5. Lack of consistency
Once you’ve subscribed to one strategy for teaching your kid a language, make sure you remain consistent in your approach. If you’ve agreed that to teach your child a certain language, you’ll speak it in the morning and switch at lunch, for example, it’s probably wise that you stick with that strategy and don’t shy away from your lesson plan. Consistency is key when learning anything and you should keep that in mind if you’re aiming to raise bilingual children.
6. Thinking it’s too late
One of the most common misconceptions about learning or teaching a language is thinking that it’s too late. Well, the truth is, it’s never truly too late. No matter how old your kids are, they’re capable of learning and picking up a language as long as you work hard to teach them. It all comes down to exposure and consistency. Obviously, the younger the child, the easier it is to master, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
7. Taking negative advice or comments
Don’t listen to doubters or naysayers, parents. As mentioned before, it is possible to teach your kids a handful of languages. All that’s required is a solid lesson plan, consistency, and exposure to the language. No amount of negative comments and bad advice from peers and doubters can change that, so don’t let others derail your goals of raising bilingual children.
8. Giving up
If you’ve come this far, you know the tricks of the trade. You also know that it’s not too late, and your kids (on a cognitive level) are capable of learning a language. So, armed with the knowledge that all kids can learn a language with enough hard work, you needn’t ever give up on your dream of having bilingual children. Just think of all of the benefits of your kids mastering more than one language, and it’s easy to keep your eyes on the prize.
[H/T] Bilingual Kidspot
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