Suggestions for Raising Bilingual Children

Every family is different and every child is different, so what works for one family or child may not work for another. However, according to one of Virginie Raguenaud’s speeches about bilingualism, there are ten things that parents can do to help the process.

Virginie was born and raised in France, educated in the United States, Canada, and Russia. Her book, Bilingual by Choice-Raising Kids in Two (or more!) Languages guides parents on encouraging bilingualism “from the cradle to adolescence.”

Some of her suggestions include:

1. Make the languages relevant in their daily lives. Children can learn two or more languages if they need them to communicate.

2. Be consistent with your language choice. Continuous and extended exposure is helpful if children are expected to attain competency.

3. Expose children to a variety of situations to practice their heritage language.

4. Help children find peers who speak the same language.

5. Give children access to books in their native language.

6. Children need a form of bilingual education in order to stay bilingual. (Some people resort to a form of homeschooling if this is not available.)

7. Elevate the status of the home language.

8. Have a strong support network. Grandparents can play a pivotal role in motivating the child to learn the heritage language.

9. Promote and reinforce cultural values with your children.

10. Help children achieve their identities.

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