We live in an increasingly multicultural society, Australia. For many bilingual households, language is the bridge to the essence of who we are and to the heart of our heritage. We often hear about the cognitive benefits of bilingualism. But how can parents support your bilingual child effectively?
Many approaches can lead to bilingualism. Here are three most common ways to raise a bilingual child:
1. One parent, one language
Each parent speaks one language while the other parent speaks another language (usually each on speaking his or her native language to the child and possibly the common language to each other).
2. One environment, one language
Both parents speak their native language to the child at home and the child speaks the second language at school and in the community.
3. Both parents, both languages
Both parents speak both languages to the child but the selection of language choice is based on speaking situations or incorporated into daily life activities. For example, parents can allocate a specific day within the week to speak the second language OR set half an hour per day to speak the second language while doing activities like reading, soccer, housework, arts and craft etc.
There is no evidence to suggest that one way is better than the other in raising a child bilingually. In fact, the recipe of learning languages requires high level of effort and consistency over a long period of time.
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Remember, practice makes perfect. Speak to us on 8645 3747, or email us if you have further questions about this.