FREE WEBINAR: How to Get Your Bilingual Child Eagerly Shouting Out the Minority Language (Literally!)

Get your child speaking the minority language more actively right now!

Middle School/High School

How to Effectively Use and Control Digital Devices with Your Kids

Digital devices and electronic toys can certainly play a helpful role in supporting a parent’s efforts to nurture language development. At the same time, it’s also true that using them effectively, and controlling them wisely, can be a challenge. Naturally, your situation differs from mine, and you’ll want to come to the conclusions that best serve your family, but perhaps sharing my experiences and thoughts on this subject—which now looms very large in all our lives—will offer some useful food

Read More »

How a Globe-Trotting Alligator Helped One Family Find Greater Fun and Success on Their Bilingual Journey

Along with our persistent efforts each day to provide exposure in the minority language, another way to boost input and engagement is through the use of short-term projects. For example, my kids and I created a series of silly interviews that I’ve shared at this site: video of my son, video of my daughter, and video of me. Other examples might include activities like making a short film; creating a picture book or comic book; writing and performing a short

Read More »

7 Must-Make Resolutions for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

NOTE: This post was made in January 2016 but the principles below are continuously relevant for raising bilingual children, no matter the month or year. Last year, I shared my New Year’s resolutions, and the year before that, my kids revealed their resolutions (in a post that features the transcript of our funny conversation). This year, I thought I would simply compile a list of important resolutions for practically any parent intent on making proactive efforts in 2016 (and beyond)

Read More »

BILINGUAL Contest: Win a Tasty Treat from Japan! (Up to 5 winners!)

In Recommended Resources: Word Games in the Minority Language, I share a big list of games on the market that can be fun and useful for promoting language development (some available in multiple languages, too). One of my favorite word games, however, costs nothing at all: you just need a paper and pencil. And the game is so simple and flexible, but also so productive for stretching the target language, that I turn to it regularly with my students and

Read More »

10 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Child’s Bilingual Development

Want 10 effective ways to strengthen your efforts, and your success, at raising bilingual children? There are now 10 “challenges” at The Bilingual Zoo, the friendly forum that complements this blog as a community of sharing and support for “keepers” of bilingual kids. These challenges are designed to empower your daily routine and boost your children’s language development. Try one, or try them all. Everyone is welcome to access the forum, and benefit from the challenges you’ll find at the

Read More »

18 Ways to Get Bilingual Kids Using the Minority Language More in Your Car

In my last post, I shared a trip that we took to an old silver mining town in Japan, offering a number of photos and an important message about raising bilingual kids. (See Make History. Raise a Bilingual Child.) As we were driving along, and playing little games in our minority language, it occurred to me that this might make a useful post: What activities can parents pursue in the car to promote use of the target language and stretch

Read More »

Guest Post: Battling the Majority Language Giant (While Feeling Like a Minority Language Gnome)

By Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, as any parent, I did so many things to prepare for our daughter’s arrival, but as a bilingual mom-to-be, I conscientiously prepared for being the primary Portuguese speaker in her life. Even with all of the preparation of reading blogs and books about bilingual parenting, building a library of children’s storybooks in Portuguese, and relearning children’s songs from my childhood, I naively

Read More »

The Top 5 Regrets of Parents Who Have Had Difficulty Raising Bilingual Kids

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent eight years caring for people who were dying. As she talked intimately with these people about their lives, during their last weeks on earth, she saw common themes emerge when they revealed their regrets. She eventually put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. According to Ware (in an infographic from, these are the biggest regrets of those facing the end of their lives… Observations

Read More »

The “Home Run Book”: A Key Idea for Promoting a Child’s Language Development

One of the recurrent themes of this blog has been my ongoing quest to inspire my bilingual daughter, now 11, to read more frequently in English, her minority language. Although it’s true that her free time is limited, due to long days at our local Japanese elementary school and heavy loads of homework, the deeper challenge is that she simply isn’t, by nature, as hungry a bookworm as her 8-year-old brother. Still, because I adamantly believe that children who read

Read More »

Bilingual Children and Distant Grandparents: What We’ve Done

Sometimes I face this argument: Your children can always learn the minority language later. Why focus so much on fostering this language now? Strictly speaking, this is true: children can indeed learn a second (or additional) language at an older age, given suitable circumstances. But this argument also surprises me because it misses the two main motives driving my daily efforts, the two deepest aims underlying my entire bilingual journey: 1. I want to communicate well with my kids in

Read More »

22 Funny Tongue Twisters for Kids (And Why Tongue Twisters Are Terrific for Language Development)

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t challenge my kids to repeat a tongue twister that emerges naturally from our interactions. The truth is, because tongue twisters are such a fun and effective form of engagement in the target language, my ears are continuously pricked for this opportunity. Two examples, one older and one more recent… 1. When my son entered first grade, he chose a black backpack for school. Of course, it was hard to overlook the wonderful

Read More »
Free Webinar