7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

Excerpt

People are often amazed when my children switch from speaking English with them to talking to my husband in Italian, and then go off to converse in German with their grandmother. “How can your kids be so comfortable speaking more than one language?” they ask.

“They live in an environment where more than one language is spoken,” I answer. “So that is what they've learned to do.” This is true enough—but it's only the tip of the iceberg.

The rest of the iceberg is vast indeed. Deciding to raise children who speak more than one language is like many other parenting decisions: You start off by gathering information from friends, experts, authors of books and magazine articles, and the Internet. Then, you make the best decision for your family and develop a plan to carry it out.

I first began considering the possibility of raising my children to be bilingual when I was pregnant with my oldest child. Although I was born in England, I grew up speaking four languages. My Swiss husband spoke five. How many languages, I wondered, could our baby learn?

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