In India, we have so many different languages, in different states and cities. We have a variety of forms for the same language. We, at home, speak 3 different languages; Hindi, Marathi & English. And I definitely encourage secularism in all aspects of life. So, Language is the first component of a babies life. Babies respond to different words we speak👅 and sing👄 to them. So it is very important for us to have a heads-up knowledge about how we are going to bring up a Bi-Lingual or Multi-Lingual child in our homes. So let’s start with some background information about my chatterbox 👓aka my daughter Ridhima. 😉 And then we will see how to raise a Bilingual child. 👇👇👇
My daughter is 4 years old, and she talks a lot!🙌And I mean it, A LOT!!! She talks, sings, screams, laughs and cries. Constantly. She gets quiet only when she eats or sleeps. I guess she started to talk using three word sentences when she had 18 months, and everyone kept telling me how amazing it was that she can speak that well for her age. Back then she knew all the farm animals, she could name any food she eat, her actions, people in our family, her toys etc..And all of this, in 2 languages i.e. English & Marathi.. Amazing, isn’t it??
Here is what I’ve been doing, and what I’ll keep on doing to raise my bilingual child :
▶▶▶Talk constantly, describe what you do, what is happening around you, comment on there actions and name their feelings.😊😥😴😭
▶▶▶Children learn to speak by listening to conversations and being a part of an exchange. So if there isn’t 😵much conversation around, you need to make up for it! You may get crazy, and in the end of the day you may loose your voice, but keep on talking while you cut those carrots and sing while you bathe your child.🚼🛀
Singing helps to memorize grammar structure and vocabulary, so sing when you dress them up, sing when you go outside, sing when you clean and bath!🛀🚽 If you are sick and tired of songs that you know try inventing songs and rimes, use simple melodies and sing!
▶▶▶Use creative grammar!
Switch from : I do, to mommy is doing, you are doing, he is doing, we are .. And so on.. If your children don’t hear a lot of real life conversations, they won’t learn how to use grammar. So not only you need to constantly talk, but you also need to do a lot of role playing! ❌❌VERY IMPORTANT POINT, Please, Please, Please don’t use any baby language or slang language while you talk to babies. Those are not the correct words for them to hear, and speak. So please, avoid slang language.❌❌
▶▶▶Read a lot of books. 🎫Every day.
Start early, as soon as they get interested in objects and can sit still for 3 minutes. If you don’t have baby books in your language just take any, and translate them. Look online 💻for children books and rimes, there are plenty!📱
▶▶▶Make them repeat after you and give them ready to use phrases.📣
When I see that my daughter clearly has no clue how to put it in words in Hindi(we have recently started learning Hindi language ), I give her a phrase to repeat after me. I tell her that when she wants juice she should say it like this. Or if she comes to me saying something in Marathi I will repeat after her in other languages , and usually then she repeats after me.
▶▶▶Establish a clear rule on watching children’s show at home: only in the language that needs improvement.
There are plenty of all kinds of TV shows and cartoons on YouTube in all possible languages.
▶▶▶Let your child listen to real conversations :use Skype 📱to connect with people that can speak your language, call your family on face time. Reconnect with old friends, and ask family members to call you and to baby sit through Skype while you are in the kitchen.
▶▶▶Engage in as many social situations 👥possible. Try encouraging the child to speak to different individuals in different languages and engage in a conversation in your language. Find them playmates🏃👫 with whom they could communicate only using your language .
▶▶▶Most important, stay persistent, and it will pay of !🙏🙋