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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Speech delay due to fluid collection in the middle ear.

Speech delay is often connected to /“blamed” on a child's gender or on the quantity of languages a child is exposed to. It is true that trilingual children definitely face more challenges than bilingual children do and bilingual children face more challenges than monolingual kids do. But be realistic. If you feel that you put a lot of efforts in your bilingual child’s language development and the results are not proportional to your input, it is time to search for doctor’s help.

This life story from Priscila Kohler will illustrate one of the possible causes of speech delay in children and I hope it will help many of you to act promptly to avoid possible complications.

I am Brazilian, and I am married to a Norwegian guy. We live in Norway and communicate in English between ourselves. When our son Martin was born, we decide to raise him trilingual. I only spoke Portuguese, my husband English, and Norwegian he would have to learn from the school.

I have two close friends whom had their children at the same time as me. So it was natural for me, a first time mom, to “compare” the development of the kids. By the time their children were 2 years old and talking, Martin was not.

And two main things kept us from seeking proper help, let’s say.

First, he was the only one being raised in a trilingual environment. So, people would say that many children would delay their speaking because of that, especially boys.

Second, his personality. He was always a child that could deep concentrate in some activity, not paying attention to anything else, and he is really stubborn.

While my friends kids were doing some “tricks” on command, like: clap your hands, put the toy in the basket, etc, Martin never did. And we, me and my husband, never suspected that he could not hear what we told him, but rather, he just chose not to do it.

Then the pedagogue from the nursery school showed some concern, due to communication with him. A psychologist is called in to observe him at the the nursery school, and finds nothing wrong with him. Finally, we had a “2nd year control” at the health station, and then, only then, the nurse suspects that he might not be hearing well. We get an appointment with an Ear-nose-and-throat doctor, and within 2 minutes of consultation, the doctor says that Martin has hearing problem. In fact he´s got some liquid stuck in his inner ear (that is really common among children that have a lot of ear infections, for example, but as far as we knew, Martin only had it one time at 5 months of age…).

Martin was scheduled an operation to drain the liquid out. It’s a simple surgery , but requires complete anesthesia. The same day we came home from the hospital, and turn on the TV, Martin made a face, and started pointing at the TV, like wow, THAT is how it sounds … It broke my heart.

After that, he made a HUGE improvement. Really quick as well. I do feel guilty sometimes for not having thought of that earlier. But no one never suspected that his delay in speech was due to bad ears. Only if I knew that those things are related, I would have done something before.

BE AWARE! Your child can have fluid in the middle ear (otitis media) without you noticing it!
As it can cause absolutely NO PAIN and your child will not complain.

Parents, check if your child has any of the following symptoms:

- Change in the sleeping/eating habits

- Talks less than usual

- Unresponsive or uses gestures instead of talking

- Needs to have information repeated

- Asks to turn up the sound

- Rubbs/ pulls the ears

- High irritability

- Difficulty keeping balance / running / jumping

Resource: Ear infection (middle ear)

Be aware! Your bilingual child’s speech delay can be due to fluid collection in the middle ear. - Click to tweet

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Bilinguals' and multilinguals' Life Stories  Read them and get inspired!

Can babies distinguish foreign languages?

How to prepare yourself to be a speaking model for your child.

Should I correct my child speaking?

Inspirational Quotes about Language for Bilinguals and Language Learners 

Bilingualism and speech delay. How can you help?  

Fun way to learn letters and start writing: What should I order? Mortadella alphabet! 

Naming languages with their proper name.  

Language learning resources:

Children's radio from around the world. Let me know, if I am missing a radio station in your language.

Kids Books in Russian

Best Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. - Лучшие Руссие Детские Мультфильмы и Фильмы.

 List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci

Monday, February 20, 2017

Best Practices for Supporting Child's Minority Language Development in a Multilingual Family

“Руль”(Rul’) is the first word my son said almost 7 years ago. It means a steering wheel in Russian. Back then I had lots of doubts whether or not I would succeed in passing on my heritage language and raising a trilingual child. I had exactly same worries you have right now. Would my son prefer speaking the father’s and the country’s language - Italian? Would he be able to speak with his Russian grandparents? Would he be able to speak a third language that I and my husband communicate in with each other - English? Would speaking multiple languages cause a speech delay? Would he mix the languages?

Two years into our family's trilingual journey my worries have doubled with a birth of our little girl. How to share my time between the two kids? How to support their language development, if they have such different needs? One does not speak yet at all, another is already experimenting with making phrases. And another worry, when the first words finally came from my little girl's mouth: What language would my children speak to each other? Would they choose to speak the minority language, Russian, or would they prefer the country language, Italian?

Now the time came when I am stressed more about my daytime job than about my kids’ language development. They reached the very ambitious goal that I set for them and myself. They are fluent in two languages and understand and speak some of the third one. They are 5 and 7 year-old, and have plenty of time to work more on their minority languages. I gave them the tools to continue doing it on their own. So they both read Russian books, play (btw, they love building lego houses for their toy animals) and speak almost exclusively Russian to each other, and sing in all three languages.

Definitely being motivated helped me a lot on this journey, but I would not go this far without my husband’s support and without the following best practises of supporting minority language development:

1. Changing the family language strategy as you go.

It is ok to change your multilingual family language strategy at any time and adjust it to your child’s language learning needs and to your family dynamics.

Before the child is born we all have a perfect plan in mind how to proceed with raising a bilingual or multilingual child. What language to speak and when. But once we have a little one in the arms, things change. We learn about our own and our child’s abilities with every step of the journey. Do not hesitate to adjust your plan. No need to be stressed about raising a polyglot, it is much more important to have a happy child and family after all.

Also different languages need to have a reinforcement at different age. Sometimes what worked in the beginning of the journey does not always work when child gets older.

2. Talking to your child & asking questions.

No matter how old your child is, even a newborn, talk to him.

If your child does not talk back yet, just describe what you do and see. He is listening and learning. I could see great results from my describing-everything-I-see practices, my kids Russian vocabulary is very well developed.

If your child already speaks, ask questions. What? Who? Why?...
I often do it after school or after reading a book or watching a cartoon. Kids are eager to talk when they are excited.

3. Reading books.

In my opinion reading is what develops child’s vocabulary best, because you can read books describing different life situations and covering variety of topics that a child won’t always encounter in everyday life.

My kids loved reading a book about a poney club and learning specific terminology in relation to horses. If not for this book, they would not have known all those words as they do not have an opportunity to attend a poney club.

I would advice to start building a home library with minority language books from the moment your child is born. Just to give you an idea how big your home library can be, about a year ago I decided to count how many Russian books we have at home. We had more than 350 books! And I read almost all of them with kids!

4. Living your cell phone aside.

Wherever you are home or outside - keep your cell phone away. Especially during the first years, you need to dedicate your time and attention to your child. It is difficult to talk to your child if you have a phone in hands. Isn't it?

Make an extra effort to talk to your child at playgrounds, don’t just seat with a smart phone in hands. Describe what your child is doing there (here we are going back to the point #2) How fast he is going down the slide, talk about his feelings. You can play an imaginary game there too. Slides are often becoming my kids boats / cars they going on them somewhere, see things. I take part in it to be able to enrich their vocabulary and it is so much fun!

5. Following your child’s interests.

Children are not very different from adults. If someone is talking about something we are not interested in, we will not pay much attention to it.
If you’d like to maximize your child’s language learning, be aware what he learns best when he is interested in the subject.

6. Watching TV in minority languages and if it’s not possible, just turn it off

I find it a good practice for both kids and parents. Children always listen and very attentive to whatever they hear around them. Even when they play in another room, their ears are like little sponges that soak whatever they hear, even sounds coming from TV in another room.

7. Using variety of language learning resources.

Small children have a short attention span, so it is good to use different games, activities and language input options throughout the day. Here are some of the ideas:

- music CDs

When kids play they can listen to the music.

- kids radio stations

My kids love listening to a Russian kids radio station where other kids call in and chat with DJs

- audio books

You can find the same books you have at home and let your child listen to them read by a different person.

- board games

check, if you can add more rules to work more on their vocabulary or ask your child to vocalize the actions.

- picture lotto games

You can buy one or make it yourself.

- activity books


- drawing and talking

This is perhaps my favorite activity for all age groups. Great for working on letter sounds and writing.

Mixing art, material objects and imagination -
a recipe for language development

8. Keeping a book always close to you, so you can read to your child aloud anywhere you go!

I always kept a book in my purse and still do. We read at a doctor's office while waiting for an appointment; in a park, when kids get tired running around and whenever I have a chance! You never know when the time is right ;)

9. Connecting with other language speakers.

I am pretty much the only Russian language input for my children, but it is obviously not enough. Children need to hear other people speaking the languages they learn. There are several ways to achieve it:

- Talking to relatives using video call programs such as Skype, Whatsapp, FB messenger etc, there is a huge choice now.

- Connecting with the local community. You can ask your country embassy for information.

- Weekend language schools are available in some big cities. Kids often not only learn the target language there, but also get extra instructions in school subjects.

10. Singing and telling bedtime stories.

Until recently my kids had a very long going to bed ritual. First I read a book, then we were singing songs, and followed by a story. Can’t say it was easy for me - it was rather tiring! But it is a truly wonderful way to connect with kids.

11. Making your child's language development as a priority number ONE.

Make minority language development as you goal for the first 5 years of your child’s life and you will have less to worry about later. If children know enough words and have no difficulty expressing themselves in different situations, they will use the language with you. Besides you won't need to be stressed about creating a NEED to speak the language. You speaking the language to your child will be enough reason for him to use it and speak it back to you. The only worry that will remain is to continue support the language development as your child grows. Unfortunately kids slowly detach from us making this task somewhat difficult.

You can find more about setting priorities reading my article:

I hope my tips on raising a bilingual/ multilingual child will help you!

Good luck !

the piri-piri lexiconS is for Supporting heritage language development at home. It is the topic I decided to cover for A to Z of Raising Multilingual Children. Go to The Piri-Piri lexicon website to read other great tips from bloggers from around the world.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Traditions in Italy.

We live in Italy and Christmas is my kids’ favourite holiday because of the magic of the Christmas tree’s lights and, of course, because of lots of presents that Santa Claus brings them!

Christmas in Italy is celebrated on 25th of December, as in other catholic countries; however, I was surprised to learn that not all Italian catholic kids receive presents that day.

Who brings Christmas presents in Italy and when?

In many Northern Italian cities, which once belonged to the Most Serene Republic of Venice, children receive sweets and presents 12 days earlier!

The night from 12 to 13 December Santa Lucia, a blind woman who is walking around towns and rings a bell, brings sweets and presents to the children living in the northern part of Italy: Trentino, Udine, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Lodi, Mantova, Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Verona regions.

Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) and in some places Bambino Gesu (Baby Jesus) , brings presents on the night from 24 to 25 December to the majority of Italians. Some lucky kids receive a second round of presents.

In Alto Adige, Trieste and Bari kids receive presents from San Nicolas.

In Napoli la Befana, a kind Italian Christmas witch, brings presents and sweets to kids the night of January, 5th. In other parts of Italy, she brings just sweets as an addition to the presents received from Santa Lucia, baby Jesus, Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus.
La Befana often leaves a lump of coal (made of sugar) inside children's stockings to remind them that they can behave a bit better than the previous year.

Xmas tree and Presepe (Nativity Scene).

And another interesting discovery! Some of Italian houses have  a presepe instead of a xmas trees. Presepe is a nativity scene that families start building on 8 December. It contains small figures, some of them are even animated!

Every year the scene gets some improvement: a new figure or a decorative element is added. Italians take a particular pride in presepe. Many expose their work outside their homes, in a garden or in a window, for others to enjoy.

Presepe window display


Italian Christmas meal.

Italy is relatively small country, but it is HUGE if you measure it by the wast variety of dishes and recipes the country has to offer. Different regions have VERY DIFFERENT FOOD! You will not find the same standard Christmas dish. Every table in every family will be different.

However, a general preference can be notices: fish dishes in the south of Italy and meat dishes in the north.

The Christmas celebration starts with a dinner on Christmas Eve, called Vigilia in Italian.

Many course dinner runs upto the midnight mass which is the culmination point of the celebration.

The Christmas day is celebrated with the lunch.

Here are some menu examples.

Christmas dinner (cena) menu from Cremona:

- pate con gelatina and salumi, included salame cremonese.
- ravioli in broth
- cappone ripieno
- panettone stuffed with ricotta cream.

Xmas lunch (pranzo) menu from Bergamo:

- fish and veggitable appetiser (antipasto di pesce salmone e verdure)
- Russian salad (insalata russa)
- lasagna
- rabbit with polenta (coniglio con polenta)
- panettone or pandoro with mascarrpone cream

- cappone ripieno
- tortellini in brodo
- lesso e arrosto
- biscotti

Italian Christmas Sweet.

1. PANETTONE from Milan

Globalization makes its impact even here. Originally from Milan Panettone starts appearing on the tables around the globe and slowly even in the south of Italy.

Panforte Italian Christmas sweet

2. PANFORTE from Siena

Panforte Italian Christmas sweet

3. PANDORO from Verona

Try to prepare one using the following Pandoro recipe

4. GUBANA from Udine

Gubana recipe 

5. PANDOLCE from Genova

6. TORRONE from Cremona

7. MOSTACCIOLI cookies from Naples

8. CROCCANTE from Naples

9. SUSAMIELLI from Naples

10.ROCCOCÒ from Naples

11.BOSSOLÀ from Brescia


13. BISCIOLA from Valtellina (Sondrio)

It is also called Pan di fich or Panettone valtellinese. Typical sweet from Valtellina, Sondrio province, Lombardia region. Bisciola is made of dry fruits, butter and eggs.
Bisciola Italian Christmas sweet


Christmas in Different Lands 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Welcome to our fourth annual Christmas in Different Lands series! This year each participating blogger will focus on a different country, sharing a traditional dish and more about Christmas in that country. For even more glimpses of global Christmas celebrations, see our series from previous years (2013, 2014, and 2015), plus follow our Christmas board on Pinterest! Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Christmas Around the World on Pinterest.
December 9 Creative World of Varya: Lebanon
December 14 Raising a Trilingual Child: Italy
Celebrate Christmas Around the World Printable Pack from Multicultural Kid BlogsDecember 15 Let the Journey Begin: Latvia Spanglish Monkey: Spain
December 16 Pack-n-Go Girls: Austria
December 19 Uno Zwei Tutu on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Colombia
December 20 Multicultural Baby: Paraguay
December 21 La Clase de Sra. DuFault: Chile
December 23 All Done Monkey: Haiti
Don't miss our other posts about Christmas in different lands, plus our printable pack Celebrate Christmas Around the World, on sale now! 


Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
In so many different languages !

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fun Activities and Mouth Exercises for Toddlers' Clear Speech Development.

I watched the wonderful work that my child's Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) was doing and I noticed that many pronunciation problems can be prevented, if parents act early and stimulate child's tongue and mouth muscles development. I talked about it with the doctor and she confirmed it. Also she was so kind and agreed to share some tips with you, parents of bilingual and trilingual children. She also writes about "R" pronunciation difficulties. I hope this article will help you! 

by my child's SLP

I and my colleagues, other speech language pathologies,  have noticed that among the children, who are accessing our services, there are increasingly more children with bilingual and trilingual abilities. These children have speech defects because of the phonetic characteristics of the secondary languages which quite often are opposite to the ones of their primary language, and because of this they also have different learning times.

Not always the children have a correct perception of the buccal space and of the movement that the tongue can perform in it, so one has to work on the phonetic apparatus perception, sensitivity and the muscular strength in order to obtain a joint correction, that including cheeks, lips and tongue.

This resulting so-called "mouth" gymnastics consists of simple exercises that every willing and imaginative parent can work on with their child, by making it fun as a game.


Normally one starts with expressive grimaces that involve all the muscles of the face: in front of the mirror, together with the parent and any siblings
we make the ugly face,
the beautiful,
the sad,
the angry …….
we raise eyebrows ,
we move our nose,
we inflate and then deflate our cheeks and so on ... whatever comes to mind !


The blowing games are also important, such as :
  • blow bubbles in water with different types of straw ( long, short , thin , thick , ... )
  • make soap bubbles,
  • move small cotton, paper balls or marbles by blowing on them. You can invent a football game, where you have to do as many goals as possible by moving the ball only by blowing on it ),
  • move small pieces of paper from one container to another holding them by sucking though a straw, slowly increase the distance and use thicker paper.
  • inflate and deflate our cheeks or hold them inflated for more time (remembering to breathe through your nose ! )  ... .


Exercises for the lips such as:
  • send many kisses ,
  • hold "a kiss" for a minute ,
  • "pinch" the lips around the edges ,
  • make the noise of a car ( BRRRRR ... .. making sure that only the lips vibrate )
  • alternate the position from a kiss to a smile ( or more simply to say Italian "I" and "U" ) ,
  • hold small balls of paper and for spitting them out as far away as possible,
  • press the lips strongly and then produce a burst (like the sound of a bottle of sparkling wine cap)


And then come the exercises for the tongues which normally are the most difficult to execute. These are to be performed with the mouth open and the tongue pointed outwards so that it rests on the lower lip and the jaw does not "slip" forward:

  • licking a candy (or other kinds of lollipops)
  • touching only the upper teeth
  • touching the "rugae" (located behind the upper incisors at the beginning of the palate)
  • touching the upper lip
  • touching the corners of the mouth alternatively
  • same exercise as the previous one, but going beyond the corners of the mouth
  • circular tongue movements, clockwise and counterclockwise
TIP: In order to help with these movements, one could spread a bit of Nutella in the point that is to be reached with the tip of the tongue.
  • touching the four top and bottom molars alternatively
  • "massaging" the palate forward and back without moving the tongue beyond the upper front teeth
  • opening and closing the mouth holding the tip of the tongue onto the upper palatine wrinkles (“rugae”) without moving it
  • to repeat "LaLaLaLaLa ... ..LeLeLeLeLe ... ..LiLiLiLi ... LoLoLoLo ...... LuLuLuLu" being careful that the mouth does not move and that the tip of the tongue always touches palatine wrinkles without reaching the teeth.
  • to repeat "TATATA TETETE ... ... ..." changing the vowels etc.
  • to repeat "LALATATA ..." changing voice etc.

Please note that all of these exercises are intended to acquire a particular muscle capability therefore, during the execution, the precision of the movement is always more important than its speed!


As for the phoneme R the question is a bit more complicated.

If by the age of five (5) years, the child is not yet able to produce it, it is best to consult a speech therapist.

As a matter of fact this sound is rather complex from an articulatory standpoint: the tip of the tongue must rise against the palate and move a bit forth, it creates a flow of air that passes between the tip of the tongue and the palate while keeping the tip in the top position to produce the vibration.
Very often parents force their children to say it, even if they are not capable of doing it, however, this will lead to an incorrect setting that will result in the known French R.

It 's good to know that for a speech therapists is usually easier to correct an absent R that to correct an altered R; also waiting over a certain age will make things more complicated as the child will get used to his way of talking and the correction will become more difficult.

The parent will have to figure out if this is just a speech problem (which will be easily fixed) or abnormalities linked to other pathologies, such as

  • speech or language delay,
  • deafness,
  • bad habits such as prolonged use of the pacifier and baby bottles, thumb sucking (all these ones make the tongue used to stay low).
  • there may be a short lower frenulum of tongue that leads to an incompetent tongue, environmental allergies and / or chronic conditions such ear infection- all these provoke an exclusively oral breathing, so the tongue lays always low - (an examination with audiologist is recommended)
  • a sore tooth occlusion with alteration of the bite or
  • an arched palate, 
  • an atypical swallowing (an examination with an orthodontist is recommended).

If there no one of these complications is present, it means that the child simply has not found an autonomous way to develop skills useful to produce various sounds of the language and thus it will be possible to help him.

I hope the tips that my son's speech and language pathologies shared here will help your child avoid seeing one.

If you find this post interesting please share it! It might help other parents too:)

If you’d like to share some tips and /or write about your experience as a parent of a bilingual or multilingual child contact me here.

You might also like:

Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
In so many different languages !

PROS & CONS of Raising a Trilingual Child

9 steps of raising bilingual child successfully- how to from Trilingual children

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Letter learning activity with a multilingual twist. FREE Printable Russian & English Alphabet Letters.

This post is a part of the ABC’s series. Today's letter is "L" and !"L" is for "Letters"! Since I raise trilingual children that speak Italian, Russian and English, I thought of offering you some letter learning activity with a multilingual twist.

Just think Russian language also has a sound “L”, but the letter is written differently - ”Л”.  Or Russian "B" corresponds to an English sound "V". My Russian-Italian-English trilingual kids , who I taught the letter sounds early, are doing pretty well in distinguishing the letters from different alphabets. They read in Russian and Italian  and successfully experimenting with English. (I write "experimenting" because I do not really teach them, they just try to read English words to me and I correct them and explain some rules).

If you are raising bilingual/trilingual kids it is always a good idea to point out to them that the same letter can have a different sound in another language they are learning.

If you are raising a little global citizen, who speaks one language only,  it is never too early  to  talk about the differences this world offers, including different alphabets: Cyrillic , Latin  , Greek , Arabic ….

1. Pick some letters from different alphabets. Write them on a piece of paper or use printables I created for you.
Below you can find a worksheet with a letter "L" from Latin alphabet and a worksheet with a letter "Л" from Russian.
Use free printables downloads of Russian and Latin alphabet following the links below:
Free printable alphabet letters for preschoolers. ALL letters of ABC alphabet / Рабочие листы для бесплатного скачивания и печати с буквами английского алфавита

Free printable Russian alphabet letters for preschoolers. ALL letters of Russian АБВ alphabet / Рабочие листы для бесплатного скачивания и печати с буквами русского алфавита.

2. Take an old magazine or a newspaper with colorful pictures.

3. Ask your child to cut pictures out (small kids can easily do without scissors by just ripping pieces off from the magazine with their hands) and

4. Glue them with a stick glue to the paper following the letter shape.

Talk to your child about existence of different languages and alphabets and write down words that start with the letter of your choice in your language.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good Reads - Fairy tales from a travel suitcase by S. Sakharnov - Сказки из дорожного чемодана, С. Сахарнов- Age 5+

Your child will definitely enjoy reading the book called “Fairy tales from a travel suitcase” - wonderful stories collected by Svjatoslav Sakharnov during his travel around the world. The stories come from England, Nigeria, Africa, Efiopia, Tanzania, Aliaska, Cuba, India, Vietnam, Indonezia, Afghanistan, Japan, Australia, Oceania, New Zealand! One of the stories tells us about a woman living in a bottle. Are you already curious to learn more about her life? :)

"Сказки из дорожного чемодана" - это замечательные книга сказок, собранных писателем Святославом Сахарновом во время своих путешесткий по миру. В этой книге вы прочтете сказки из Англии, Нигерии, Африки, Эфиопии, Танзании, Аляски, Кубы, Индии… Представляете, в одной из них женщина жила в бутылке! Теперь вам наверное не терпится открыть книну и узнать ее историю.

И в качестве дополнения к рассказам, рекомендую заглянуть на офицальный сайт писателя, поддерживаемый его сыном, и увидеть фотографии из путешествий автора.

Полезные ссылки:

Книги Святослава Сахарнова на Amazon

Книга "Сказки из дорожного чемодана" на Amazon

You might also like:

9 steps of raising bilingual child successfully- how to from Trilingual childrenCan babies distinguish foreign languages?

Easy way of teaching your bilingual kids to write in a minority language.

Language learning resources:

Children's radio stations from around the world. Let me know, if I am missing a radio station in your language.

Kids Books in Russian

Best Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. - Лучшие Руссие Детские Мультфильмы и Фильмы.

 List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci

Friday, June 24, 2016

Easy way of teaching your bilingual kids to write in a minority language.

I try to follow my kids' natural interests as I teach them languages. I started introducing letter sounds while reading books and worked on letter - sound recognition day after day through introduction of different activities. Both of my kids learned how to read well before school. My girl impressed me with reading 3 letter words at the age of 3. ( There was no pushing on my side.)
Writing came on its own as a by product of my affords towards teaching them how to read for both of the kids.

Here are some activities I recommend to help your kids to start writing in minority language:

1. Drawing and writing 
I find drawing together with kids is a very important activity that entertains a wide range of age group: babies, toddlers and elementary school kids.You can teach so many things, without your kids realizing all the learning they are doing!
It can be drawing and labelling, writing a story and illustrating it. Creating your own book, a calendar...
In the beginning you do most of the work, but as a child grows and learns, his/her work becomes more and more independent. These days I am amazed by my kids creativity!

2. Playing games where writing is involved

Pretend play “a Restaurant” is such a great game! Kids love to be waiters and write down orders. Lots of orders! Get ready to pretend eating all the dishes you have order :)

3. Dictation
When kids already mastered the letters and writing words, try to experiment with short dictations. First use simple words, then funny phrases and sentences. Allow your child to participate: start a sentence and let him finish it.

4 years old child's writing
Tip! Use a notebook (btw, I mean the paper one not the computer;) for writing in minority language. Especially for elementary school kids, buy the same type of notebook your child uses for majority language to work in parallel on his minority language. My son just loves the idea of having his Russian language notebook. Give the minority language the same value as to the school's language.

4. Use workbooks/ worksheets with letters in your language
In Russia we call it “propisi”. I found great ones with transparent pages that also show the start point for writing a letter and indicate the direction of writing.

Note: do not expect a lot from small kids. Let them write, make mistakes. Only with time and a lot of practice you will see a result.

These are just some activities to help you get started. Try them. Experiment. Work on developing your child's interest for writing based on his other interests.


- Attention: do not criticize!
Even if your child is open to corrections and you already correct him/her speaking. Be extremely careful while correcting mistakes in writing. Do not over criticize him/her. You do not want your child lose interest and stop writing. Everything will come.

- Be prepared for unusual ways of writing:
The letters might dance up and down. Your child might break the word in many different places to start it writing from a new line or, another extreme, write a sentence as one long word. He will not always follow the left to right or the right to left writing rule. Your child will make mistakes. And thus, comes next:

- Be patient:
Your child needs time to figure things out.

I hope this helps.

I’m always happy to hear about your own experiences. Please leave your comment below.
If you’d like to share some tips and /or write about your experience as a parent of a bilingual or multilingual child contact me here.

And if you find my post interesting please share it! It might help other parents too:)

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Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
In so many different languages !

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PROS & CONS of Raising a Trilingual Child

Multilingual Family Interview: When your home languages are different from community language. Plus resources for teaching phonics and reading to children in English.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Good Reads: Forest Fairy Tales by Nikolay Sladkov. Лесные Сказки. Николай Сладков

If you’d like your child to love nature, read him or her these short stories by Nikolay Sladkov. In this book nature can breath and animals can talk and think aloud. The author attentively describes everything he saw himself while walking in the Russian woods. He opens the secrets of nature and triggers your child’s imagination.

You can find books by Nikolay Sladkov on Amazon 
I found some other great books by the same author in English and Japanese!

Хотите, чтобы ваш ребенок полюбил природу? - Почитайте с ним книги Николая Сладкова. В них природа дышит, а птицы и звери оживают и говорят, думают.  В каждом рассказе писатель внимательно описывает увиденное, раскрывая один за другим секреты природы и развивая детское воображение.

You might also like:

9 steps of raising bilingual child successfully- how to from Trilingual childrenCan babies distinguish foreign languages?

Fun way to learn letters and start writing: What should I order? Mortadella alphabet! 

Naming languages with their proper name. 

Language learning resources:

Children's radio stations from around the world. Let me know, if I am missing a radio station in your language.

Kids Books in Russian

Best Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. - Лучшие Руссие Детские Мультфильмы и Фильмы.

 List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci