Many parents today recognise the importance of getting their children to speak, read and write effectively in more than one language. Apart from the numerous benefits that bilingualism brings, being proficient in two or more languages brings great advantages when it comes to study and career opportunities.
If you have made the choice to expose your child to two languages at home, it is important to get ahead with helpful tips to introduce multiple languages properly to your children. However, it is also worthwhile to take note of some common mistakes that parents make in their attempt to raise children who are effectively bilingual.
As shared by Bilingual Kidspot, here’s a list of errors commonly made by parents when raising bilingual children:
1. You think that your child will automatically become bilingual
One of the top common mistakes parents make when raising bilingual children is assuming that just because they speak a language, it is only natural that this will be passed on to their child. What they fail to realise is that the development of their children’s ability to speak and understand a language takes a lot of effort and patience. When parents take this for granted, their children can end up being a passive bilingual, whereby they understand what one is saying but are unable to reply using the language.
So, do set aside some time each day to talk, read and do activities with your child in more than one language. Work together with them to ensure that they can speak and understand the languages used at home well.
2. TV alone will not teach your child a language
While some exposure to TV programmes in a particular language can help to complement the activities that you do with your child, do remember that human interaction is the only way for one to truly master a language. Simply putting your children in front of the TV will not help them speak and understand the language, as they need someone to practice with and to guide them along the way.
3. Relying on expensive toys and materials
Before you go overboard and invest in the latest toys and materials that promise to help your child learn a language better and faster, do bear in mind that expensive materials do not guarantee that your child will be able to learn a language effectively. The best way for your child to learn a language is through interacting and conversing with people who are fluent speakers of that language.
However, if you are looking for supplementary materials to make the learning process more fun and interesting, there are simple materials that you can prepare and use at minimal cost to encourage your child to converse with you in that language.
4. Correcting your child too often
While it is essential to point it out when your child makes mistakes when learning a language, do try not to do this too often as it disrupts the flow of talking and discourages him/her from persevering with the learning. Although it is important to correct major mistakes, do try to let the little ones go – in time, they will learn to get a hang of it and understand the rules of the language.
It is never too late to teach your child new skills and languages! Find out what other mistakes parents make when raising bilingual children on the next page.