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Principles

My Bilingual Kids Are Now Teens and This Is the Key to Our Success

I took my daughter to the doctor this morning. Yesterday at school, during P.E. class, she felt a painful twinge in her left leg—probably a pulled muscle. It doesn’t seem to be anything serious, and will likely heal on its own in a few days, but the school wanted us to have it checked. Naturally, I don’t wish for my children to injure themselves, but I must confess: it was a welcome chance for us to spend a little time

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This Is the Bottom Line for Success at Raising Bilingual Kids

Two threads of my life, both of them months in the making, have suddenly come together with the same message. The first thread involves my 15-year-old daughter and an English speech contest (recitation contest) that took place on Saturday. This event was the culmination of a long process that began in the spring, when her English teacher at school encouraged her to take part. When Lulu, now in her third and last year of junior high at a public school

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NEW! The Perfect Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

Just in time for Christmas! I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL! is the perfect book for parents—especially new parents and parents of younger kids—who dream of raising bilingual or multilingual children. Written by Adam Beck, author of the popular guide Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability, this playful book is a unique “picture book for adults” with delightful illustrations by Pavel Goldaev. Narrated by a lively baby, the book emphasizes the most important information parents need for realizing joyful success on a

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 5: Back to Japan, and Back to Our Key Habits and Routines

One of the core principles for successfully raising bilingual or multilingual children (key question #6 in 45 Key Questions Every Parent Raising a Bilingual Child Should Ask) is this: Effective habits and routines that can provide the child with ample exposure in the target language, and create regular opportunities for him or her to use this language actively, must be made and sustained—and reshaped, as necessary—over the years of childhood. In our case, for example, some of my long-running habits and

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Guest Post: Raising Bilingual Kids in Challenging Conditions Can Ignite a Parent’s Creativity

I have always liked the scene in the Disney movie “Big Hero 6” where, in a moment when the younger brother was feeling hopeless and out of ideas for a big project, the older brother carried him on his shoulders and turned him upside down to shake him and move him around their bedroom, encouraging him to look at things from another angle. Every now and then I feel like I need that kind of shaking up to reset and

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This Key Strategy Can Empower Your Child’s Bilingual Ability Throughout the Childhood Years—and Even for a Whole Lifetime

In the recent post Make the Most of the “Golden Years” of Your Minority Language Influence, I introduced the challenging new stage of my family’s bilingual journey. Now that my kids—Lulu, nearly 15, and Roy, 12—are both in junior high school and are leading busy, increasingly independent lives in Japanese, I’m afraid my presence in their days, and the English exposure that goes along with it, is far more limited than it was when they were younger. In fact, the

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Want to Raise a Bilingual Child? Remember This: You Get What You Pay For.

I won’t bore you with the details, but over the past couple of months, I’ve had continuous troubles with many parts of my digital life, and especially email. In fact, last week my entire email account for Bilingual Monkeys (adam@bilingualmonkeys.com) suddenly disappeared from my computer, with thousands and thousands of messages vanishing in a matter of moments. (Fortunately, I was able to locate a back-up folder and restore most of them, but still, it was a long and distressing day.)

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Make the Most of the “Golden Years” of Your Minority Language Influence

The other day my son graduated from elementary school. In Japan, elementary school lasts until sixth grade, then students move on to three years of junior high, then three years of high school. Since the school year ends in March and starts up again just a few weeks later, in April, this means that Roy will soon be entering his first year at our local junior high school while Lulu will be in her third and final year there, gearing

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13 Things You Should Definitely NOT Say to Your Bilingual Kids to Get Them Speaking Your Language

First of all, if you want to get your children speaking more in the minority language, here are several key posts that can help you do this… 7 Steps to Get Your Bilingual Child Using the Minority Language More Actively What to Do When Your Bilingual Child Won’t Speak Your Language 5 Ways for Your Bilingual Child to Interact with Other Speakers of the Minority Language As the title of this post stresses, I don’t recommend that you try to

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My Simple Message for the New Year (And Don’t Mind My Messy Hands)

We spent the last week of 2018 in Singapore, a long-overdue family vacation. (That’s me in the photo, licking chilli crab off my fingers.) We had a warm, wonderful week there—Singapore is such a lively multicultural and multilingual place—and it was hard to return to cold Japan and resume our “real lives” here. Among the busy days of sightseeing, we also had the chance to meet up with a family that I became friends with through this blog. It was

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Upset About Raising Bilingual Kids? That Might Be a Very Good Thing. (Really.)

While many people assume that children will automatically become bilingual if each parent speaks a different language, the reality is often far more challenging. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the parent of the minority language to suddenly experience a large shock, when the child is about 2 or 3, because the majority language seems to be progressing more strongly than the minority language. It may even be the case that the child is actively using the majority language but

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