Over on Instagram, I have met a great group of parents raising multilingual children and we often participate in collaboration posts sharing our successes or challenges. A while ago I asked them to share what they do every day that they believe has lead to their multilingual child’s success.
Below you will find their answers and a link to their Instagram profile.
For example, we read at least 20 minutes before the kids bedtime every night. My husband and I take turns every other day. One night he will read to them in Turkish and one day I will read to them in English. The books are either the kids choice or we continue reading from our current chapter book.
One new Chinese character a day with my eldest with one page of writing the character and simple example sentences, then I do a quick test to see whether she can remember the characters from previous days. We do morning and bedtime routine in German, and most days we play a guessing game ‘20 questions’ where you have to think of an animal, fruit, vegetable and the other person guesses it by asking questions that may only be answered by “yes or no”. The game helps develop listening and vocabulary, and can easily be adjusted to ability (for example – does the animal have sharp teeth/ does it eat other animals/ is it a carnivore – are different ways of asking the same question). Meal times we try to make Japanese. It is their least strong language and at this stage we are happy for them to hear the sounds. We describe what we eat, how it looks, how it tastes and makes us feel. Hope this helps
Personally I try to introduce my children to diverse contexts. Books are definitely one of the main tools for us, we read daily in Italian language, and I try to choose children’s books with different topics and writing styles – from fairytales to science.
In addition we challenge our children with different activities that offer opportunities to expand vocabulary, for instance we go on a mushroom-picking trip and make sure to name trees and mushrooms.
Boardgames are a great asset in our home. Because they have different settings, they also offer a way to introduce novel words while playing.
We read 2 books 2x a day and play a game based off the book or watch youtube themed around the book then go to where the book is talking about #fieldtrip (but covid so the field trips are limited) and have a playdate where we read the story with native and do themed activity
Hi!! We read books everyday, although the language doesn’t really matter. They love reading and when we read together it is also a nice moment we spend. I think creating this emotional attachment to reading is key. At the moment we read Tintin, Lucky Luke, or Astérix in French + another book (If it’s English, I read it, if it’s Korean, my wife reads it)
I also spend time playing with my sons. When they play together, they play in English. But if it is with me it is in French, and with my wife, Korean.
Spending time together is really key as it helps consolidate the emotional attachment our kids have for our languages. And of course, it is great to spend time together!!
We do other things as well, but those we do daily are those mention above.
Hello! We listen to spanish and French songs and sing along! We also play board games and practice the target languages while having fun.Check out their Youtube channel for stories and activities in French and Spanish!
Tell us below in the comments what you do everyday that you think has contributed to your multilingual family’s success!