It can be hard to get kids to speak a second language: our lives are too busy, we have multicultural families, there is not enough second language exposure outside, and sometimes we aren't fluent in the second language ourselves.
Today, I'm sharing some simple, common methods families can use to encourage bilingualism in their homes:
1. One Parent, One Language - each parent picks a language and communicates with their children in that language. This allows children to get equal exposure to both languages.
2. Minority Language at Home - speaking only your native language at home. The children are exposed to the majority language when they go to daycare, school, or when they hear or converse with others outside of home.
3. Context or Time & Place - families choose to learn and/or communicate in a language depending on the situation or at a specific time during the day.
4. Mixing Languages - families speak a mix of both languages without any plan or structure.
All of the above methods are great ways to raise bilingual kids. Remember, there is no BETTER method! They ALL work well as long as you are consistent!
In our home, we use method #4 "Mixing Languages". My husband and I both speak a mix of Gujarati and English to our kids, because we are not 100% fluent in Gujarati either! 😅 We like method #4 because it allows our kids to understand both languages, and for our family, it feels natural and doesn't require much effort.
Although kids are more comfortable speaking in English because that is the majority language, I see a lot of progress in their Gujarati conversation skills and they continue to use more Gujarati words with each passing day! 🤗
What bilingual parenting method do you prefer to use in your home? How do you encourage kids to converse in their second language? I would love to hear your story!