Bilingual Education: 12 Points for Chinese Parents

Author : hihilulu   Date of publication :10/15/2018 5:57:24 AM

1  A magic wand is not the solution

Children do not become bilingual with a simple magic. The eternal myth that "children are like sponges when it comes to languages" and that they will learn all languages if they hear them regularly is simply not true. It is true that if the circumstances are good, the children will grow up and learn easily the languages of the family, but this is not won in advance.

2 It is necessary to plan

In order to make every effort to succeed in the bilingual education of your children, you must plan ahead. Do you want your children to speak fluently? What about written language (reading and writing)? Who speaks what and when? Discuss with your family and agree on goals to achieve


3 Consistency is preponderant

Once you have planned, you need to get involved with your family and stay consistent in the use of your language. Yes, children can become bilingual if parents use different languages with them, but the risk that they prefer to use the majority language is much greater if they have become accustomed to using the minority language when parents pass to the majority language.


4 It will be necessary to pay attention to the time of exposure to the language

Once you have your plan, think about the amount of time your child needs in each language. There are general recommendations that say that children should be exposed for at least 30% of their day to the language so that they become bilingual in a natural way. These are just outline, it depends on the type of exposure, some children might need more or less of that time to acquire a language.


5 You will invest a little more time (and sometimes also a little money)

It will take time to talk and read a lot, to find resources to help your child learn the language. You may also need to use your vacation to make a trip that will enhance your children's motivation to speak the language


6 There are people who will make you doubt

Not everyone will agree that it is a good idea to educate your children using all the languages of the family. There are those who will tell you that it is useless, that it does not help you and will not work. Others will think that you are asking too much of your children and others will say that you are going to mix their brushes with all these languages. Ignore those people who make you doubt, forgive them too, they do not know what they are talking about.


7 Do not listen to bad advice

Professionals may tell you to stop speaking a language to your children. If you have doubts about developments in your child's languages, discuss with a specialist who has experience dealing with bilingual children.


8 It will not always be easy

There will be all kinds of challenges during your journey in this multilingual family trip, in addition to people who will make you doubt and misinformed "experts", there will be more down-to-earth obstacles: would I be able to stay true to my plan when life changes and offers surprises that change family circumstances, career progresses, influence of others is too high, etc.? When it's difficult, ask for advice and help.


9 Your child answers you in the "wrong" language

This usually affects the parent who speaks the minority language. You have the impression that you have done everything correctly, that you have remained consistent and yet your child returns from school and no longer responds in your language. You will feel disappointed and discouraged if this happens, but it is crucial that you do not give up, and that you continue to be consistent and if possible, increase the time of exposure to the language.


10 Your children will gain a multitude of benefits by becoming bilingual

If you still doubt whether or not you will raise your children in a bilingual manner, read these benefits on bilingual children. We all want the best for our children, so why not support them by giving them a wonderful gift, that of speaking multiple languages?


11 You will never regret it

I can assure you that you will never regret your decision to have your children grow up speaking all the languages of the family. In addition, I heard parents say that they were sad for not giving their tongues to their children; not to mention the many adults who are disappointed that their father or mother did not teach them their language when they were children.


12 You will be proud

You will be very proud when your children talk to their grandparents or other family members in "their" language. I can assure you that this feeling is absolutely wonderful. Not only a pride for you, but also for your children and the rest of your family. You will be a role model for other families.

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