nurturing a bilingual learner

If you or someone else in your home speaks a language other than English, your child has an excellent opportunity to become bilingual. Speaking two languages is a skill that parents can promote. The early childhood years are especially critical for children learning two languages. Each child is unique in their development of two languages, and all children can benefit from being bilingual.

Ways to nurture a bilingual learner in your home include:

• Provide many different language experiences in each language, including music, drama and other activities.

• Engage in conversations with your child about special topics of interest to them.

• Make sure your child knows if they are expected to speak a certain language to a certain person, in a certain place, or at certain times.

• Be patient if one or both languages develop more slowly than other children who have only one language. This is common, and most children catch up by third grade.

For more ideas, read 25 Tips for Boosting the Minority Language for Bilingual Kids

For a more in-depth look on this subject, check out the New York Times article, “Raising a Bilingual Child.”