by Christina Bosemark, founder of the Multilingual Children's Association
When I was growing up, the only way to raise a truly international child was via an exorbitantly priced Swiss boarding school. Luckily, such elitism has been thrown out the window, and now parents raise multilingual children themselves. The children grow up just as world-savvy and sophisticated -- and actually know their own parents! Still for the do-it-yourselfer, a few tips can smooth the way.
The most common question people ask me is "How do I raise a bilingual child the best way?" "Easy, just talk to them!" is my tongue-in-cheek response. It seems almost impossible to imagine the baby transforming into a communicating creature, let alone one conversant in several languages. Although the miraculous progress from cooing to speech occurs in exactly the same fashion whether it transpires in one or in several languages, the practicalities are different. Here are the first steps to raising your very own polyglot tot.
And, hey, remember, you're not alone. Madonna, Andre Agassi, and Antonio Banderas are among those raising bilingual children. And if they can do it, why shouldn't you?
But, you are thinking to yourself, what about those people who say that raising a child with a second language is a really bad idea, that it will harm the primary language? Is there some truth to it? See the next article in this series: Raising Bilingual Children: Fact or Fiction? for more details.
Christina Bosemark is the founder of the Multilingual Children's Association, your web-guide to raising bilingual children with expert advice, parent discussions, resource directory and articles. She is also mother of two trilingual daughters and co-founder of the Scandinavian immersion school in San Francisco.
Links to websites with information and advice about raising multilingual children
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