Raising bilingual child and how it affects on their development

Raising bilingual Child and how it affects on their development

Many kids are exposed to and use multiple languages as they grow up. According to some academics, the majority of people on earth regularly speak more than one language. In a deliberate effort to guarantee that bilingualism does not place children at any intellectual or emotional harm, parents, educators, and legislators all have an interest in research findings on child bilingualism. 

The notion that bilingualism confuses youngsters was one of the initial issues that researchers tried to address. 

 However, studies have demonstrated that bilingualism does not lead to confusion, does not have a fundamentally detrimental effect on development, and, more importantly, provides a number of key sociocognitive benefits. 

Bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development when compared to monolinguals, particularly in understanding the beliefs of others, picking out the important variables to solve a problem, and entertaining two possible interpretations of the same stimulus at once.

There has been no research on bilingual children’s use of emotion language. However, research with bilingual adults suggests that the language in which events occur could be strongly linked to the emotional overtone of the memory of those events. It is possible, then, that the context in which a language is learned can have an impact on bilingual children’s ability to express themselves and their accuracy in expression.

In sum, there are no overall disadvantages to bilingualism. On the contrary, there can be significant disadvantages regarding children’s loss of a home/heritage language, which is often deeply intertwined with family, emotions and identity.

Here are some practical tips for supporting your child’s multilingual or bilingual development.

Play and games

Encourage your youngster to participate as you read and share stories in your own tongue. Be imaginative and use dress-ups! 

Play games in your native tongue, especially ones that emphasise language, such memory games and games like “I Spy,” “Bingo,” and “Who Am I?” 

Sing, dance, and make music in your native tongue. Children adore music, and a good tune can aid with memory retention. 

Look for kid-friendly word games in your native language’s app store.

Community activities

  • Look for schools, child care centres, playgroups or multilingual and bilingual programs that support your child’s use of their heritage language.
  • Organise playtime with other children who speak the same heritage language.
  • Organise visits to or from speakers of your heritage language. If it’s possible for you, visiting countries where people speak the language can boost your child’s interest in the culture and ability to speak the language.

At home

  • Talk to your children in your heritage language from birth.
  • Listen to radio programs in your heritage language, including popular music programs and channels for teenagers.
  • If you have family and friends who live overseas, you could encourage your children to connect with them using video-chat or online.
  • Think about what your child is interested in – for example, soccer, music, TV shows, cooking and so on. Try incorporating your heritage language into these interests. For example, you could find your child’s favourite recipe or a typical recipe from your community and cook it together using only that language.
  • Watch movies or sport in your heritage language – for example, through satellite TV or online streaming services. You can sometimes switch the audio or subtitles of English content into other languages.

The main thing to keep in mind is that parents don’t really “teach” children to speak, any more than they teach them to walk or smile. The most important things in language development are exposure and need. If children are exposed to a language in a variety of circumstances with many different people from the time they are born, and if they feel they need the language to interact with the world around them, they will learn it. If they are exposed to two languages in varied circumstances with different people from the moment they are born, and if they need both languages to communicate with the people around them, they will learn both.



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