If you are a bilingual parent, you probably want your children to learn your language, lifestyle, and culture. However, there are several challenges to getting your children to embrace your culture. With our busy schedules, both amongst parents and children, it is often difficult to make out time to engage our kids in the language or get them interested in learning about our culture.
From our research, we have put together a list of Challenges and Solutions to help parents in raising bilingual kids.
1. Speaking the Family Language Among Parents but Not With the Children
Most parents focus on learning and teaching their kids the community language while sacrificing their minority language in their communications. This situation is likely if they move to a new country where they need to learn the dominant language.
Understand that your culture and language is your pride and speak it to your children as early as possible.
Communicate in your family language always when indoors and teach your kids to respond
Ensure you correct the mistakes your child makes, and teach them word by word.
2. Not Paying Attention to Reading and Writing
Your kids will always learn to read and write the majority language in whatever country you live first because it is what they are taught in school. Some parents don't pay attention to teaching their kids how to read and write in the family language; they assume that speaking the language is good enough.
Always set aside time to read and write your family language with your kids at home. Take a few words or chapters every day to gradually improve your child's ability.
If you are too busy to teach your child, employ a tutor in your language to handle teaching your child.
3. Parents Forgot how to speak their native language
Many parents forget the family language over the years as they grow up, and this happens for several reasons.
Most times, when people begin attending school, they drop their native language in a bid to fit in and speak the community language in school and outside.
Refresh your memory about your family language and teach your child as you learn as well.
Spend time talking and playing with your kids in your family language. Ask questions and give them hints to encourage them to respond.
4. Passive Bilingual Kids
A child who can understand a second language but can't speak it is passively bilingual. This situation could be because a child didn't get an adequate introduction to the language, doesn't have the vocabulary, or hasn't felt the need to speak the converse in the language.
Most parents let the child respond to a statement in the family language with another language because they assume it is easier as the child isn't consistent.
When you speak to them, translate what you say in your native language and let your kid repeat your statements.
Imbibe the responsibility to speak your native language in your kid
5. Children Reject their Native Language
Some kids totally reject their native language and refuse to speak it in any situation.
Before things escalate to this position, many things must have happened. Did the parents try to expose the kid to the language in their earlier years? Was the native language and culture given priority or communicated as vital to the kids as they grew up? Most parents start late, and the child is already set in his ways by then.
Begin speaking your native language very early to your children, so they grow up with it
Introduce them to people who speak your native language or enroll them in a language class.
6. Parents are too busy to teach their kids
Many persons don't have time between work, business, and house chores to teach their kids the native language. However, some things are so important that we must make time for them.
Speak your native language at home no matter how little time you have
Enroll your child in a language school or get a tutor.
7. Kids Prefer to Speak One Language
Some kids want to speak one language instead of two, and they most likely go after the majority language they are more exposed to. Most times, this could cause a strain in communication with parents when kids choose not to speak the family language.
Look for immersion programs around you.
Continue trying to expose your kid to the least preferred language
Introduce to other people who speak the least preferred language.
Raising a bilingual child is quite taxing, but it is something you must do well for your kids and yourself.
It is crucial to know the possible challenges associated with raising bilingual kids before you face them. Prepare for these challenges so that you can overcome them in due time.