The most common question people ask me is "How do I raise a bilingual child the best way?" "Easy, just talk to them!" is my tongue-in-cheek response. It seems almost impossible to imagine the baby transforming into a communicating creature, let alone one conversant in several languages. Although the miraculous progress from cooing to speech occurs in exactly the same fashion whether it transpires in one or in several languages, the practicalities are different.
Here are the first steps to raising your very own polyglot tot.
1. Family agreement: Even though agreement within the family is perhaps the most essential ingredient, I am sometimes asked, "What do I do if my partner doesn't want me speaking to our child in a language he doesn't understand?" An insecure spouse may fear being excluded from 'the secret language' between the other parent and …show more content…
As with most aspects of parenting, it's a long-term commitment and there will be ups and downs. But remember, that's happening to the parents of the monolingual children too! Don't worry if your child doesn't speak his multiple languages as quickly or as adeptly as his peers. Instead focus upon his successes and marvel at the development of his little brain. Always praise, praise, and then praise some more! Know that when your child says, "I want a hug" in your language, you'll almost cry with pride. At that moment, it won't matter that it took some extra effort or that you had to wait a bit for the