Bilingual Children

Bilingualism is competence in more than one language can be thought at either an individual or social level.  If you are proactive from the start, you will stand a much better chance of nurturing a good balance in the child’s bilingual ability.

From birth to age 6 or 7 is a critical time because this is the period young brains are most prımed for language.  I was always interested in other languages, cultures and customs and always thought of bilingualism as a magic power.  It’s clear to most of us that speaking multiple languaes is a good thing, and learning multiple languages in the early years is a nearly effortless means to fluency.  The effect of growing up bilingually includes superior reading and writing skills in both languages, as well as better analytical, social and academic practice.  Children on the other hand, seem to pick up their native language out of thin air.  A word’s meaning sounds and grammatical function all must be extracted from the incoming speech stream.

Yet this potentially arduous task is typically executed with little effort by children barely a year old.  In fact, studies show that children can learn a word in as little as one exposure.  Although the miroculous progress from cooing to speech occurs in exactly the same fashion whether it transpires in one or in several languages, the practicalities are different.  Family agreement is very important that couples find one solution that is acceptable to both parents as well as benefical to the child.  It’s possible to succesfully introduce as many as four languages provided you can offer enough exposure and need for each one.

You can find others who are raising their children to speak your language.  These future play dates will provide your child with the ultimate language teachers.  Raising multicultural children requires also patience, and there are going to be times when doubt sneaks in.

It is important to be both very serious and very playful at the same time; serious about the process and yet playful when it comes to carrying that process out.

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