How Would You Like To Raise Multilingual Children?
Some people know they want to raise bilingual children even before a baby is conceived! Here's some easy advice on how to go about it.
You might be a parent who wants your kids to embrace your local Nigerian dialect. Or you want them to understand and communicate in a foreign language or two. Whatever it is, there are benefits to raising bilingual children, especially if you start early, when children are at their "sponge" state. You will be happy to know that arming your child with more than one language can lead to more job opportunities down the road. It also helps them with the ability to connect to more people, both socially and professionally. Studies even show that being bilingual can help people keep a sharp mind through old age!
Here Are 4 Methods For Raising Bilingual Children
When it comes to successfully bringing up a bilingual child, there’s no one size fits all approach. It’s all about finding what works best for your situation and your child. There are four methods for raising bilingual kids that are the most widespread, so we’ll focus on them and how they can support your child’s bilingual development.
One Person One Language (OPOL)
In the One Person, One Language method, each parent consistently speaks a different language to the child. This could mean that the mother speaks her native Yoruba with her children. And her partner speaks to them in English.
It is effective when the two languages used are different from the main language used outside the home. In other words, it’s okay if neither parents’ language is the majority language where the family lives.
The One Person, One Language approach is the best method for teaching a child two languages because it results in less mixing. It also ensures that your baby has regular exposure to both languages. That said, it requires a lot of dedication from the parents to avoid mixing languages.
Minority Language at Home ([email protected])
While bilingual children need support in every language they speak, many parents find that a minority language needs extra support. When this is the case, many families adopt the Minority Language at Home approach. This means that both parents use the minority language at home with the children.
For example, both parents speak Yoruba at home (whether it is the native language of both parents or not) while living in France (where the child learns to speak French outside of the home).
Time and Place (T&P)
The Time and Place method is commonly used in bilingual schools. This could mean that during the morning, everyone speaks one language and in the afternoons everyone speaks another language. Alternatively, it could mean that Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the majority language, while Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are spent with the local minority language.
Families can adjust this approach as it suits them, and it could even mean a seasonal approach. Perhaps the majority language is used most of the time, while the minority language is used over the weekends or during summer to coincide with a family vacation to the country where the language is spoken.
Mixed Language Policy (MLP)
With the Mixed Language Policy, parents use the language that is appropriate to the situation. For example, the majority language may be used to help with school projects while the minority language may be used to discuss personal topics.