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Toddlers

Guest Post: Losing Your Second Language? 4 Tips to Reboot Your Bilingual Journey

As any parent raising multilingual children well knows, teaching kids multiple languages takes hard work and dedication. It can be a frustrating, but extremely rewarding journey. The ways in which parents work to ensure that their children learn two or more languages are varied and can involve “one parent, one language” (OPOL), “minority language at home” (ml@h), or even completely bilingual households. Once parents make these choices, however, it isn’t smooth sailing from there. Often, our language plans can be

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Guest Post: What I’ve Learned From My First Two Years of Bilingual Parenting

When I first came across Bilingual Monkeys, I didn’t know it yet, but it was the beginning of my efforts to pay a lot closer attention to my son’s language learning. I’ve always been fascinated by language. And I like to think I’m pretty good at learning languages. Plus, I teach English as a foreign language for a living. But up until about a year and a half ago, with my son well into his second year, I was taking

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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: A Monolingual Parent’s Quest to Raise a Bilingual Child

My journey teaching my son Chinese began over 2.5 years ago after an intense researching binge. I read many articles, scientific studies, and scoured the Internet for Chinese language classes for my then soon-to-be one year old. As a monolingual parent who only speaks English, my lofty goal of raising a bilingual, near-native Chinese-speaking child was a bit daunting, at first. I knew I would have to be creative, think outside the box, and find the best way to stretch

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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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Expert Annick De Houwer Responds to Readers’ Questions on Bilingual Children

A few weeks ago I shared two excellent books on early child bilingualism in the post Recommended Resources: Books on Bilingual Acquisition by Prominent Researcher Annick De Houwer. Along with my impressions of these books, the post included an insightful interview with Dr. De Houwer and a book giveaway, which generated a number of questions from this audience. Dr. De Houwer, a professor of Language Acquisition and Multilingualism at the University of Erfurt in Germany, generously offered to respond to

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These Are the Building Blocks of a Successful Bilingual Journey (and a Closer Bond) with Your Kids

Today I’d like to put to rest the false and unhelpful notion that we “don’t have enough time” to make the regular efforts that are necessary to provide persistent input in the minority language and promote strong bilingual development in our kids. I empathize with the lives of busy parents, believe me, but when we claim that we’re “too busy” to maintain effective daily routines or take on a productive short-term project, we’re not only acting in a way that’s

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Raising a Bilingual Child? Raise the Odds of Success for Your Family!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. —Nido Quebein Think of it this way: Raising a child to be bilingual is about odds and each family’s odds of success will be higher or lower depending on their particular circumstances and how proactive they are about shaping these conditions in effective ways. My experience as a teacher at Hiroshima International School demonstrates that the odds of a Japanese child successfully becoming bilingual are

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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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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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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

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