Raising Bilingual Children as Expat Parents
Language is beautiful and one of the most innate strings to anyone's bow that set you apart from the rest.
As expats, we have the opportunity to live in rich, diverse cultures that speak different languages.
As adults, the use of learning a foreign language is for navigating your way around. Still, for expats that have children, the foreign language of their new country becomes their secondary tool, one that they will learn and speak at almost 'native' level.
As an expat family, this is truly an awakening adventure that expat families go on to interact, integrate and learn the cultural rules through the native language. It isn't easy and requires patience and active participation.
Her Expat Life has top tips on how to raise bilingual children effectively.
Take a positive, active role in your child's language learning
As parents, we can sometimes shy away from learning a language or become frustrated as it is a long process. Keeping a positive mindset is key, along with an active, engaging outlook for both you and your children.
Immerse your children in the language
Enrolling your children in local schools is like throwing them in the deep end; however, they are quick to adapt and learn as they are children. Involve your children in situations where they need to use the language, like buying something at the local shop or ordering at a local restaurant. This is a fun, interactive way of using the primary native language and helps you and your children be friendly and build bonds with locals in your new city.
Hire a Tutor
Finding a local who teaches the language can be a real added bonus and serves as family support for immersive language learning. This requires extensive participation, hard work, and a strong willingness from all the family.
Have multilingual books at home
In addition to schooling and local interaction, having books in the native language or fun, workbooks, or even DVDs in the specific language encourages your children daily to keep learning in different ways.
Join a language network
Online, many language networks offer a strong community of expats in the same boat who can provide advice, support, meet ups, and fun cultural activities to help progress your learning the new language.
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