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Raising a child speaking dual or multiple languages

D

oes speaking two or more languages confuse your children? Would learning two languages at one go be hard for your child? Would it be good for your child to learn one language at a time or should your child inculcate the understanding of more than a language right from childhood? Ever thought about all these things?

We have some solutions to the numerous problems that might be disturbing you when it comes to raising bilingual children.

To begin with it’s not confusing for children to learn two languages at a time. They can understand the difference between languages at a young age! So your child can easily understand a foreign language and the native language being spoken at home.

Kids-Talking

Bilingual children who have a solid foundation in their native language learn the majority language more easily and do better at school than children who aren’t learning their native language at home. Children exposed to two different written languages – for example, Hindi and English – or even two different writing systems – for example, French and English – can read and write English at high levels. They might also have a better understanding of the relationship between how words look and sound than their peers who speak English only. If you would wish to know about the learning of your child then you should know that bilingual children develop language at the same rate as children who speak one language only. The fact is that children learn to speak at different rates, but this isn’t because of learning more than one language at the same time.

Let’s highlight a few pros of bilingualism:
For child
Boost in academic results
Increased sense of belonging, identity and self worth
Manifold career options
For Family
Improves coordination and communication in a family speaking multiple languages
Helps in shaping the family culture
Increases family’s sense of cultural identity and belonging
For community
Children can more easily travel and work in different countries and cultures in the future
Everyone in the community gets a better appreciation of different languages and cultures
Understanding and appreciation of different cultures by children

It might look like there are only benefits of raising a bilingual child. You should however know that raising them has its own set of challenges. Not only is it a commitment from your side towards the kid but it also requires a lot of work. Here are a few things which you need to do:

Give them chances to hear and use their second and other languages
Encouragement and support is a must
Get support for yourself – for example, by talking to friends and family who are raising bilingual children
Talk to your children’s teachers and get their support for your efforts
Stick with your choice of language
Every now and then motivate children to speak your native language
Look for ways to make your children ‘need’ to speak your native language
Help your children resist peer pressure to ‘speak English only’ or any such language.

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