Myths about raising bilingual children are everywhere, which is why some parents lose interest in teaching their children two languages. Many even believe that learning several languages at a young age can cause confusion, setbacks, or even the loss of opportunities in other areas.
Here we’ll explain the most common myths surrounding bilingual children and even give you some creative ideas to instill your children with a passion for languages:
1. It’s confusing for children to grow up in a bilingual environment.
It seems that this myth stems from the result of old research, which came to the conclusion that exposing children to two different languages puts them at a disadvantage compared to other children. However, Barbara Zurer, the author of the book “Raising a Bilingual Child” explains that:
From just days after they’re born, all children are capable of distinguishing between several languages.
2. Raising bilingual children causes them delays in speech development.
In the past, bilingualism was considered the cause of language development problems in children. However, “recent studies confirm that bilingualism doesn’t cause delays in speech development or language acquisition,” says Ellen Stubbe, the president of a bilingual language and speech service provider.
3. Bilingual children end up mixing both languages.
In fact, bilingual speakers of all ages mix languages, but said “mixture” is harmless yet inevitable. Experts in the area confirm that it’s all temporary and that in time, it will disappear as long as the child develops enough vocabulary in each language in order to not be confused.
4. It’s too late for you to raise a bilingual child.
It’s never too late or too early for you to teach your child a second language. While it’s true that it’s much easier to learn a second language at a very early age, it isn’t impossible for your children to acquire one during adolescence or adulthood.
5. Kids are like sponges, which is why they’ll become bilingual easily and quickly.
Introducing your child to a second language requires some kind of structure, and even more importantly, consistency. This can take the form of daily conversation or formal teaching, given that no language is simply learned by “osmosis.”
The idea is to expose children to a language learning process, which is meaningful and interesting. To achieve this, you can consider the following methods of language teaching:
1. Change the language of TV programs.
The majority of cable TV providers offer the possibility to change the language of the transmission. Make your children watch TV in the languages they’re learning whenever possible and talk to them about how their favorite characters are also bilingual, so that it’s more fun for them.
2. Watch YouTube videos.
Because YouTube is global, there are thousands of programs online in a multitude of languages. For small children, look for programs in the language you want them to learn. If you have older children, find online lessons in your language of choice.
Audio books expose your children to the sounds of a particular language, aiding pronunciation and improving comprehension, because the children listen to the stories and are immersed in the context. Include stories from your own culture, so that it’s a more enriching experience.
3. Read the news from other countries.
If your child is interested in what’s happening in the world, there are news websites with appropriate topics for the whole family in several languages. Read important events out loud, and this strategy will help them develop their vocabulary and comprehension.
4. Watch movies and documentaries that encourage learning another language.
If you can’t find movies in your preferred language, then look for movies and documentaries about people who speak that language or come from that culture.
5. Follow bilingual celebrities on social media.
Reinforce the value of bilingualism by following celebrities who speak two or more languages online. Occasionally, stars such as Natalie Portman (Hebrew) and Sandra Bullock (German) make posts in other languages. That way, your kids will see how other languages are used in context.
What did you think about these myths and advice about bilingualism? Leave your comments below and remember to share the article with your family and friends!
Have you see that?
We like that posts.