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Advice for parents

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We often get asked questions from parents with children learning more than one language.

Will my child find it difficult learning two languages?

No, because babies and young children are natural linguists and are capable of learning two or more languages. Being bilingual is an asset.

Do I have to teach my child English before they start nursery or pre-school?

No. Once children know how to use one language, they can usually learn another one quite quickly. Keep using your home language with your child.

I speak two languages. Which one should I use with my child?

Use your strongest language. This will help your child to have a natural and fluent model of how to talk.

My child is mixing up the languages spoken at home - should I be worried?

Bilingual children sometimes mix up words from two languages when talking. Try to separate the languages as much as possible so they can naturally learn the vocabulary and rules of the two languages.

Will my child forget our home language when they start school?

If you continue to speak to your child in your home language you will be helping to develop and maintain your child’s first language. Use your home language to help your child with their homework.

Can the television help my child to learn a language?

Very young children are too busy looking at the pictures rather than listening. Older children can learn some things from the television, but research shows that this is not the best way to help children to learn to speak a language.

We speak several languages at home, what should we do?

  • Option 1 - one person, one language.
  • Option 2 - Speak only one language at home and the other outside the home. This requires both parents to be reasonably fluent in both languages.

Will hearing two or more languages slow my child’s development and cause a language delay?

Research shows that children who grow up with two or more languages have improved cognitive skills, such as problem solving, and an improved ability to learn new words with ease. There is no scientific evidence that bilingualism causes language delay or disorders.

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