Love is beautiful in whatever way it manifests itself. One of the most beautiful sights to witness is when two people come across cultures to find one another and fall in love. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it’s wonderful when a couple can embrace their differences, stand in solidarity and build with each other. One of the most interesting components involves having children. If you both speak a different language, consider the ways you can raise your child in a bilingual household.
Celebrate both cultures as a family
Respect is paramount when you’re teaching about different cultures. Do your own research to make sure you’re not passing down information about other cultures that is steeped in ignorance or specific stereotypes. As you teach your child to respect both cultures, it’ll become second nature. One of the ways you can teach respect is through balancing the exposure to both cultures. Find ways to promote and highlight the beauty of both instead of putting one country and culture on a pedestal above the other.
Speak both languages at home
Make it a habit of teaching and speaking both languages at home. As your child learns to read, label each item in the home with the name from both languages. If you and your family eat breakfast and dinner together, consider splitting the time. You all can speak one language in the morning and the other language in the evening.
Find a bi-lingual preschool program
Your child is going to spend a considerable amount of time at school. It’s great to find a program that will support the work you and your spouse are doing at home. This is why it’s wise to find a Bilingual Early Childhood Center to visit and potentially enroll your child in. Do your own research to make sure it’s a program that you are comfortable with. The benefits of a good program, however, will mean greater fluency for your child in both languages and a greater sense of bonding socially among their peers.
Share both languages in your visual media
When you all are watching television or movies as a family, experience a variety of options. If Saturday night is your family movie night, alternate between watching movies in the respective languages of the home. The same applies to television shows or news channels. Even if you or your spouse aren’t fluent in both languages, having regular access to both languages during their developmental years will go a long way in helping them build their vocabulary.
When you’re teaching a child to speak one language, it can already prove to be an interesting journey. However, when you add another language on top of another, you’ll have to be even more intentional. As you implement these tips, remember to do so with lots of patience. Know that this is a journey worth committing to because children are sponges. They can learn whatever you teach them.