Raising Bilingual Kids & Little Global Citizens

Bilingual Parenting

The Do’s and Don’ts of Raising Bilingual Kids

The Do's & Don'ts Of Raising Bilingual Kids

The Do’s and Don’ts of Raising Bilingual Kids

As parents raising bilingual kids, we have one of the toughest but most rewarding jobs in the world. Yes, it can be stressful at times, making sure our children get enough exposure to all of their languages. But, the benefits of bilingualism outweigh any of the difficulties we may face along the way.

Getting Started

If you haven’t already check out the following sections of the website where we go more in depth into raising bilingual children. How to start, how to prepare yourself and your family, strategies you can follow, and what to expect in terms of your child’s language development skills along the way.

Here are 13 do’s and don’ts for parents raising bilingual kids:

1. DO speak your native language with your kids.
DON’T be afraid to teach your kids your second language, even if you don’t speak it perfectly.

Read more about languages in these posts.

2. DO introduce new languages to your kids as early as possible.
DON’T think it is too late to introduce a new language later on.

Read the following articles that are relevant to the age of your kids.

3. Do set realistic goals for your bilingual kids.
Don’t compare your bilingual child to children who only speak one language.

4. Do be consistent with the language strategy you follow.
Don’t hesitate to change your approach if it isn’t working for your family.

5. Do correct your child if they say something incorrectly, or in the “wrong language”.
Don’t feel like you have to stop them every sentence, stopping the flow of conversation.

Read more about common mistakes parents make raising bilingual children.

6. Do take advantage of media and technology to help your kids get more exposure to the minority language.
Don’t think that TV or media alone will teach your child a language.

Read more about what you need to raise bilingual children in these posts.

7. Do read to your kids every day, especially in the minority language.
Don’t stop reading to them once they can read themselves.

Read more about the importance of reading with your bilingual kids in these posts.

8. Do buy resources and materials that can help improve their language skills.
Don’t underestimate the power of conversation for bilingual kids.

Read more about resources available for bilingual children around the world.

9. Do your research on Bilingual Parenting and ask advice when you feel you need it.
Don’t listen to the myths and misconceptions about raising bilingual kids.

Read more about the myths and misconceptions in this post.

10. Do travel with your children to immerse them in their minority language.
Don’t think you can’t teach kids about the world from home.

11. Do try to establish the minority language with your children if possible.
Don’t panic if they have a mind of their own and want to speak the majority language together, it will more than likely be the case.

Read more about bilingual siblings and how you can boost kids language skills below.

12. Do make learning a language as fun as possible.
Don’t push your child if you think they are stressed out, they may refuse to speak in any language.

Read more about how to make languages fun for kids in these posts.

13. Do seek outside support if you need it.
Don’t think you are a failure if your child refuses to speak your language

Read more about why your kids won’t speak your language, and also why any language learning is a benefit.

These are some of my do’s and don’ts of raising bilingual kids, and some helpful articles that go into more detail on each topic. I hope they can help you on your bilingual journey.

Are you raising a bilingual child? Take a look at our Multilingual Families Series, or our Language ResourcesSubscribe for related articles. Follow Bilingual KidSpot on Facebook and join our online community and support group.

Do's and don'ts of raising bilingual kids


  1. Ms.Williams

    Great advice, except I don’t think it is necessary, or even helpful to correct their errors.

  2. Duncan Williamson

    The single most important method is talking to your children in both languages. I speak English, my wife speaks Thai and English. I am at home a lot so i can talk to my kids at almost any time. True bilingualism means, for me, that both languages are equivalent.

    I never corrected my daughter in any way except by hearing a mistake and correcting it as naturally as possible, in context. Now she is four years old, I do correct her few mistakes: these happen as she sorts out syntax and grammar in her own mind.

    Recently, a problem has arisen at nursery as my daughter is the only English speaker in her class and since she is bilingual, chooses to answer everything in Thai. However, the teacher speaks English and no Thai. we are working on this but it is due to her shyness and feeling the odd one out.

    I mentioned children: my other child is 11 months old so he is just starting!

  3. Liande

    Do make sure, you stick to „your language“ if you talk to your kids. Assign one language to each grownups in the family and stick to it talking to the kids. Make sure the child has opportunity to hear each language in communication settings….

    • Sahin

      I’ve got a question on mind. For example, my wife speaks Turkish and I speak English. What should we do in front of the kid? As I got from what you said, the kid should hear conversation in both languages which means I need to speak Turkish and my wife in English sometimes. But that’s not “sticking to it”.

      So my question is “If she tells me something in Turkish in front of the kid, which language should I use? Or if I want to ask tell her something, in which language should it be?”

  4. Silvia

    I love this article. Thanks for summing up the best principles.. I would just add.. When you correct them.. Be gentle and rephrase.. But do not correct them saying.. No no that is wrong!!! This just generates stress and frustration.

  5. This was such an excellent summary that applies to numerous languages!! Each of the points are so true. I think my favorite two are “Do read to your kids every day, especially in the minority language.” and “Don’t push your child if you think they are stressed out, they may refuse to speak in any language.” It’s so important to read but also have balance!! I am excited to share this helpful post on my Facebook page! https://chalkacademy.com/

  6. Kinga

    We were already raising our kids bilingual (English and Polish) ad when we decided to go trilingual, we heard A LOT of objection (that it will “impair their speech”, “confuse them” etc). But after only ONE YEAR of Chinese kindergarten, look what happened:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkKupZijK3c So all I can say is don’t be discouraged, persevere, and believe in your child 🙂

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