Raising Bilingual Kids: My Top Tips for Building Your Language Learning Tribe
I started blogging with the sole purpose of sharing my experiences raising a multilingual and multicultural kid and over the years I have realized that you need all the help you can get. I’ve been fortunate to count on friends, family and a robust online community to help me in this journey.
My Top Tips for Building Your Language Learning Tribe
Take a language class. A language class is a great way to find like-minded parents and get resources you can use at home (songs, activities , etc).
Join Facebook groups. Do a search for general parent groups in your area, or specialized groups about raising bilingual/multilingual kids.
Search for a Meetup group in your area.
Find a dual language or immersion school. Some preschools have language classes, some pre-ks offer language lessons as well. By sending your child to a school that believes in bilingual education, it will be part of your child’s every day life and the people around him will celebrate bilingualism. Administrators, teachrs and other families will become part of your tribe! And of course, language immersion is one of the best ways to learn another language!
Participate in cultural festivities in your local area. Celebrating language and culture is another way to add to your tribe! Festivities where thousands of people are celebrating their heritage will instill pride in your little one!
Use Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp to maintain relationships with family abroad. This one is super important. We use Skype to chat with our family in France every week and we use videos and messages to chat with our friends in Ecuador (kids that are my son’s age– they send messages to each other, it’s so adorable!) Interacting with family on video helps keep kids engaged in language learning and interacting with kids can help teach your child that other kids speak the target language too– they talk about movies or songs, or show eachother their toys– all in the target language!
My little one and his friends Renata and Fabi at the Parque Histórico in Guayaquil
We use WhatsApp to keep in touch.
Ask your family/friends abroad to send you books, games, movies in target language. Amazon and other online sites will only get you so much so ask your friends to bring back some books or games in the target language (much better than a t-shirt or other souvenir!)
Find a penpal for your child in another country. This is a great one for older kids… with so much technology no one writes letters anymore– but writing a letter and sending it via regular mail, and then anticipating the response is so much fun! Also, you can share trinkets like postcards or photos and of course practice written language skills.
Create or join a play group. Get a few parents who want to practice language skills and host a playgroup in your home. Take turns hosting or meet at the park if the weather is nice!
Hire babysitters who speak the target language.
Follow and engage with bloggers who write about raising bilingual kids. I write at what I’ve experienced in the four years I’ve been raising a bilingual child and I also share resources like sings, printables, and other activities. There are other bloggers who share their experiences as well. You can check out the following site to find more info on raising bilingual/ multicultural kids: Multicultural Kid Blogs, a community where bloggers from all over the world share their experiences. You can search using a map for bloggers from your specific area in the world! Through this group I have met wonderful bloggers from all over the world who are committed to raising global citizens.
I’ve also made a list of 10 best sites you should check out if you’re raising bilingual kids.
Join me on IG every Saturday for #SpanishSaturdays : A few weeks ago I started #SpanishSaturdays on Instagram. I ask a question, share a tip or resource and parents share their ideas on the feed. It’s only been a few weeks and I encourage you to join in the conversation!
Finally, please know that I’m always available if you have any questions! Feel free to reach out because remember, it takes a village!
Note: This post was written as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Blogging Carnival. Check it out here: Building your Language Tribe: Advice from bloggers around the world!