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The Essentials

7 Steps to Get Your Bilingual Child Using the Minority Language More Actively

When it comes to raising bilingual children, the most common concern I hear—and this is a frustration felt by families in all parts of the world—involves strengthening the child’s ability in the minority language and getting the child to use that ability more actively. One of the most-read articles at this blog discusses this difficulty at some length and offers a variety of suggestions for addressing it: What to Do When Your Bilingual Child Won’t Speak Your Language With this

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Guest Post: Yes, You Will Have Haters. Keep Speaking to Your Kids In the Minority Language Anyway.

Like many American Jews of the past few generations, my mother’s parents spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want the kids to know what they were talking about. They wanted their kids to assimilate and become full-fledged Americans, and that meant speaking English, not Yiddish: that so-called “dying” language that symbolized Jewish life in the Old World, before Hitler came along and destroyed it all. And so, my mother, like so many other American Jews, never learned her parents’ native language.

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45 Key Questions Every Parent Raising a Bilingual Child Should Ask

1. What are the benefits, to your mind, in raising a bilingual child? For the child? For you? For your family, near and far? For others? For the world? (Perspective 2 and Perspective 30) 2. How strongly do you believe that your actions each day—even your small actions—make an important difference to the larger success of your bilingual quest? (Perspective 3) 3. Which of your current circumstances are favorable for your success? Which circumstances are less favorable? How will you

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This Is When You Should Give Up the Idea of Raising a Bilingual Child

The other day I received a message from a frustrated parent, on the verge of abandoning the bilingual journey, who explained: “I’ve done my very best, but my child just won’t speak the minority language.” In fact, I hear this claim now and again so it isn’t uncommon. But I think it’s worth keenly reflecting on this sentiment for a moment.

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Nobody’s Perfect at Raising Bilingual Children

I sometimes see parents—even parents experiencing good success at their bilingual aim—who are awfully hard on themselves over missteps or missed opportunities. It’s one thing, I think, to be self-critical to a reasonable degree in order to continuously strengthen our daily efforts; this is a constructive form of critique that can fuel growth. But when this tendency to be self-critical goes too far, it can become counterproductive, sapping energy and undermining action, even causing some to consider abandoning their bilingual

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Why Saying a Lot of Dumb Things to Your Bilingual Kids Is So Valuable to Their Language Development

Saying dumb things to your bilingual children can actually be very smart. At dinner the other day I was asking my fifth-grade daughter about her weekly afterschool club at the local elementary school my kids attend. (These club activities are an option from the fourth grade so my third-grade son will be able to take part soon.) The conversation started off something like this… ME: How was dodgeball club today? LULU: Fun. ME: I’m glad you had fun. (Lulu silently

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Why Raising a Bilingual Child Matters in a World Gone Mad

From the horror of Hiroshima to the terror of Paris, the world is mad. It’s hard to imagine that this madness can ever really be overcome, at least not until the human mind evolves into a higher state of health and wisdom. But where does that leave us now, in these violent times? How should we live amid a world gone mad? And how can we help advance that necessary evolution of our species, even just a tiny step? The

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Raising Bilingual Children: 17 Actions That Will Strengthen the Odds of Success

Raising a bilingual child is about odds. Every family inherently faces certain odds of success based on its particular set of circumstances. For example, broadly speaking, the odds of success are higher when the minority language parent is the main caregiver, and lower when the minority language parent is not. Another example is schooling. When a child receives schooling in the minority language, this raises the odds of success tremendously. On the other hand, the odds will drop by a

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Free E-Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Children from Adam Beck, the Founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo

In spring 2014, I released the e-book Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids. The response to this unique resource was very positive and I’m so thankful to all those who made a contribution, in exchange for the e-book, to help support my work at Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo. As promised, 100% of these funds have gone toward maintaining and enhancing these two websites. Meanwhile, I’ve also heard from some parents who wanted a copy of the e-book

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Guest Post: Speech-Language Pathologist Tells All About Bilingualism, Speech, and Language Delays

The question I am asked most often when talking about raising my children bilingually is, “But won’t that confuse them?” Often times I believe the hidden or unspoken question behind this query is, “Won’t they be delayed if you do that?” The first thing I want to address as a speech-language specialist is that there is no research-based evidence that bilingualism causes language disorders. Again and again the research demonstrates no negative effects of bilingualism, even for children with known

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Do This One Simple Thing and I Guarantee You Greater Success On Your Bilingual Journey

Last year I wrote a post titled Want to Supercharge Your Success at Raising Bilingual Children? and mentioned a special project that I called “a game changer for parents who are serious about raising bilingual kids, but want to get even more serious—and more successful—at this challenge.” Although I didn’t reveal full details of the project then, and I finally set it aside—at least for the time being—when I ran into some technical issues and other considerations, I wanted to

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