New Year Resolutions for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids
We are almost ready to bring in another year and most of us will be thinking about our New Year resolutions! Everyone loves a clean slate of a brand new year! As parents of bilingual children, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to improve our family’s bilingual or multilingual journey. I have been thinking about my resolutions lately and many parents raising bilingual children should be able to relate to many of them.
Here are 6 New Year resolutions for parents raising bilingual kids
I will talk with my children as much as possible.
Although we talk to our children every day, we also need to talk with them. They hear us telling them constantly to do things every day. What we also need to do, is have more conversations and discussions with them. Talking together and having conversations helps their language development, and also helps us bond with our children, and there can never be enough of that!
As a working parent, who speaks one of the minority languages with my kids, I know I must use my time with them effectively. I must make sure that when we are together, that we are spending quality time, talking as much as possible to improve their English.
I will read TO my children every day even when they start to read themselves
Reading one book per day from birth means reading 365 books per year. If you can make that commitment, by the time your child reaches their fifth birthday they should have heard at least 1825 stories! Imagine how much vocabulary they will have been exposed to.
There is nothing I love more than cuddling up with my kids at night reading bedtime stories together. We read a lot as it is, but in the New Year I hope to add more books to our home library in the different languages they speak, to grow their love of reading even more. Even when my eldest starts to read I would like to keep reading to him every night.
I will endeavour to immerse my children more in the minority language
With the minority language needing that little bit more exposure, finding new and exciting ways to immerse your children in the language is important. Whether it be finding mothers groups or playgroups for younger children, or Summer language immersion camps for older children, any extra immersion in the language is going to be beneficial.
We don’t have many resources in English where we are currently living so other than myself, they don’t get any other English exposure. However, travel to Australia quite often where my children have been immersed in the English language. It has made such a significant impact on their language development. We have been talking about spending some time in a Spanish speaking country next year so that our children can hear Spanish from someone other than their teacher (playmate). Travel isn’t always possible for all families, however it is a fantastic way to fully immerse your children in a language.
I will make an effort to learn another language with my children
As I watch my children learning multiple languages, I can’t help but feel a little jealous! My kids are being raised bilingually speaking English and Italian. Just over a year ago they started learning Spanish as a third language, though neither myself or my husband speak it ourselves. One of my biggest new years resolutions as a parent of bilingual kids is to jump on the bandwagon and learn a new language with them. What have I got to lose right? Let the Spanish learning begin!
I will try to stress less
We all care about our children, and their development. We all worry about them, and wonder if they are progressing as they should be. But sometimes we have to just sit back and relax a little bit, and stop stressing about the little things.
So what if my child is mixing languages. So what if he answers back in the opposite language. Yes, we should take steps to help them improve, however we don’t need to stress about it. It is normal.
I must admit, I am guilty of stressing too much. When we travelled to Australia for three months, my children had very little exposure to Spanish or Italian and I was stressing that they would forget. It was all for nothing though, as when we returned it didn’t take them long to get them back on track. I still stress about little things, and that is one of the things I must try to overcome, one of my most important new years resolutions.
I will persevere with the bilingual journey and refuse to give up
Bilingualism is not an overnight achievement. It is a journey that we must commit to and follow on throughout our children’s lives. In the New Year, let’s feel inspired and motivated to continue this lifelong adventure. Make our kids proud of who we are, and let’s be proud of them!
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