Download free resources designed to support the language development of bilingual kids.

I Want to Be Bilingual

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

Here I am! Your new baby! I’m pretty darn cute, right?

I know you’re surprised to see this letter. You didn’t expect me to arrive with a special delivery, did you? But I had a lot of time on my hands in Mommy’s tummy. I mean, it was warm and cozy in there, and the room service was great, but it was kind of boring, to be honest. Just growing and growing, day after day. I recommend cable TV for the next kid.

There wasn’t much of a view, either. I couldn’t find any windows and I had trouble peeking from Mommy’s belly button. To tell the truth, I got a little worried. I didn’t know what to expect out here and I was afraid I might step right into a shark tank or something.

But I have to say, the world looks like a pretty cool place. And you guys—well, you seem friendly enough, I guess. (I wish you’d stop all that grinning, though. Those big teeth are making me nervous.)

Click to continue →

Daddy Is Dangerous Lately I’ve been playing a funny little game with my kids. I call it “Daddy Is Dangerous.” (Feel free to rename it “Mommy Is Magical,” if you like. :mrgreen: )

It’s a simple game—all you have to do is print out the PDF file I provide in this post and grab a pair of scissors—and if your children are from about 4 to 12 in age (the developmental stage known to experts as “the silly years”), I bet they’ll enjoy it. In fact, my kids are even moved to play it by themselves. And what’s more, every time they play it, they get a good workout in reading, vocabulary, and spelling.

Click to learn more about the game and get the free PDF →

My Best Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids

This popular post is now bigger and better than ever! With 50 tips, and over 6,000 words, you’ll find a wealth of ideas to help strengthen your success in bringing up bilingual children.

You can also freely download the whole post as a handy PDF file for saving, printing, and sharing!

Download this post as a PDF file.

Or if you’d prefer to watch a playlist of videos covering all these tips, you can do that, too!

Go to Bilingual Monkeys TV, my YouTube channel.

Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability

1. Start early
If you’re proactive from the start, you’ll 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 vital time for two reasons: 1) this is the period young brains are most primed for language acquisition, and 2) if the child attends elementary school in the majority language, it grows more difficult to “rebalance” the two languages after that. In other words, the investment of time and energy up front will make it easier to foster the balance you seek, then maintain that balance throughout childhood. Playing “catch up” with the minority language is much harder. (See Warning to New Parents Who Dream of Raising a Bilingual Child.)

2. Prioritize it
Making this a priority goes hand in hand with being proactive. If the development of your child’s minority language isn’t one of your family’s highest priorities, chances are the majority language will quickly come to be dominant and the minority language will be relegated to a more passive role. Don’t underestimate how quickly this can happen once the child enters the world and spends the bulk of his hours bathed in the language of the wider community. Make the minority language a priority from the get-go and you’ll strengthen the odds of achieving long-term success. (See What Language Should I Speak in Public with My Bilingual Child? for my thoughts—and many comments from others—on a parent’s use of the minority language and majority language.)

3. Don’t leave it to chance
Don’t let the whims of circumstance determine the outcome. You should actively shape the situation, on an ongoing basis, so your child receives sufficient input in the minority language to counterbalance the weight of exposure coming from the language of your community. Some take a more laissez-faire approach, saying that the minority language can be picked up later, when the child is older. That may be true, in some cases, but there’s also the natural desire of many parents to interact with their children in their mother tongue throughout the childhood years as well as the need for a shared language so the children can communicate with extended family members. (See Why Communicating in English with My Kids is So Important to Me for my personal thoughts on this point.)

Click for the full list of tips →