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Preschool

The Basic Formula for Bilingual Success

One of the most rewarding things about running The Bilingual Zoo, the friendly (and free) forum I opened in 2014, is the opportunity to follow the progress made by parents and children over time. It’s always a thrill for me when a thread begun by a parent, concerned over a child’s language development, is updated after six months or a year with happy news of stronger progress. This happens regularly, and the latest example is Stefania’s thread, which she updated

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This Key Principle for Raising Bilingual Kids Is a Vital Part of Our Efforts, From Babies to Teens

Let’s begin with two examples. These examples involve parenting in general, but I think they’ll make this important principle very clear. Then I’ll go on to offer further examples that connect more directly to the challenge of parenting children in more than one language. As these two examples demonstrate—one from early childhood, one from later childhood—a key principle for parenting in general, and parenting bilingual and multilingual children in particular, is the idea of intentionally shaping (and reshaping) the space

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VIDEO: Your Child Wants to Be Bilingual

It’s true! No matter how old they are, children want to be bilingual! Watch this short video, where I read an excerpt from my book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability, for a motivating perspective on the entire bilingual journey… View this video at Bilingual Monkeys TV and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Get more information about my widely-praised book.

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Guest Post: Creating a Little Bilingual Family—If Not Precisely By the Book

I try hard not to cringe when well-meaning friends and family speak to my daughter in broken English. According to the “rules” of bilingualism, they should be speaking in Spanish, their native language and the majority language in Argentina where we live. But I’ve found that when people hear me speak to my two-year-old in my native English they automatically trend towards using it themselves with her. The curious result is my Argentine-born daughter is being treated like a foreigner

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Recommended Resources: Great Books and Blogs for Nurturing a Child’s Multicultural Spirit

One of the deeper themes of my efforts to support the bilingual and multilingual journey of families in the world—as I stress in such posts as Why Raising a Bilingual Child Matters in a World Gone Mad and Why Your Bilingual Child Is Tied, Profoundly, to Hiroshima and Peace—is the idea that children with ability in more than one language can potentially feel keener empathy for others and contribute to creating a more harmonious world through their outlook and actions.

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Look How Far We’ve Come On Our Bilingual Journey (And How Far You Can Go, Too)

Now that my daughter is in junior high school, and nearly a teen, I’d like to offer you a special peek at the progress my kids have made to date in their minority language. (For those who need a bit more context, we live in Hiroshima, Japan and my kids attend local Japanese schools, which means that Japanese is our majority language and English is our minority language.) The idea for this post arose the other day when we bought

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VIDEO: How to Get Your Bilingual Child to Speak Your Language

Having some difficulty getting your bilingual child to speak your language? Watch this video for clear, actionable advice that can help you address this challenge more effectively and get your child using the minority language more actively! View this video at Bilingual Monkeys TV and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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8 Fun Ways to Get Your Bilingual Child Loving the Minority Language More

One of the basic principles for making good progress on the bilingual journey is the idea of nurturing a positive attitude toward the minority language. This may sound like a mushy sort of aim that can’t really be addressed in ways beyond getting our children to feel that their ability in the minority language is useful to their lives and helpful to the lives of others. But, in fact, there are some very concrete things that you can do to

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The Most Important Point on Our Long Bilingual Journey

Recently, in My Daughter and I Hit a Big Milestone on Our Bilingual Journey Together, I shared how Lulu had graduated from elementary school and would now be entering junior high. (The school year in Japan ends in March and starts up again in April.) In my mind, I’ve always viewed this transition to junior high school as perhaps the most important point on our long bilingual journey: If I could just sustain my persistent efforts until this point, and

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Bilingual Kids and Grandparents: Make the Most of This Opportunity

This week the cherry blossoms are blooming in Japan. This week is also my father’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Dad!) He lives in Quincy, Illinois, the town in the U.S. Midwest where I grew up. In a way, there’s a profound connection between the two because the short-lived cherry blossoms—they bloom beautifully for just days before they fall—are a sharp reminder of how precious and fleeting our lives actually are. My father—and my mother, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee—are now both in

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Guest Post: Engaging Your Incredible Bilingual Child in the Minority Language

My favorite line in The Incredibles movie is when in the midst of complete chaos at the dinner table, which goes seemingly unnoticed by Mr. Incredible, his wife Helen (aka Elastigirl) finally pleads for his intervention and yells, “Bob! It’s time to engage!” I have felt like Helen lately, wanting to plead with my children to engage in the minority language. Over the past 7 months, my children have undergone major life changes: moving to another state, mommy working full-time

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