Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: May 2013

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Best Way to Start Building Your Bilingual Child's Vocabulary Is by Taking Your Baby On a Stroll.


mother walking with stroller

You are new to the country, and do not have friends yet. You have your little baby, whom you decided to raise bilingual, and nobody else to share your thoughts with. Do not be sad, surely you will find new friends soon....But right now you can spend more time developing your child memory, attention and vocabulary by talking with him while you take walks...you have all the time in the world.

Even if he is still a six month old baby, you can start showing him the wonders of this world. Try to look at the things around you as if you have never seen them. That is exactly how he looks at everything. All is new to your child and you should name what he sees.

Look together at the different shapes and colors around you. The beautiful cuts of the  leaves of the trees, flowers, insects running on the ground. And even if you live in a city and you are surrounded by buildings don't be discouraged: find interesting objects around you. A city surely provides with great "study material" as well. There are different brands of cars, shops with all sort of geometrical figures, buildings, so on and so forth. Name them all for your child.

Always remember not to judge what you see. A pipe sticking out from the ground could be an interesting object for a kid, as well as a car falling apart or a tree without leaves. These images are certainly ugly to you, but will be undoubtedly interesting to your child.

Do not rush, stop to show and talk about every little thing you pass by. Remember you are also teaching your child new words in your language (the minority language)!


You might also like reading:

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

How much time do we have to influence a child's minority language development? 

Planting a language tree. Does passive language learning work?  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Naming languages with their proper name.


My son hardly ever mixed the languages. I see that my daughter is doing not so bad either. I am thinking, what if this is also because I tried to be very clear to them from day one and called the languages with their proper name?

I started with saying that the father speaks Italian and I speak Russian. When I speak to your father I speak English. I made an example of how one word sounds in different languages. When I was talking to my friends and relatives I would name the language we were speaking. Skype was very helpful here as well.

Later I was adding a little geography, saying that in America, people speak English, in Germany people speak German, in Russia people speak Russian, in Italy - Italian, and that there are many other languages. I would tell what language the people whom children know (grandparents, cousins, ants, uncles, friends) speak. We always need to remember that our children do not have a base knowledge yet.

I might be somewhat mistaken, but  clarity will do only good to your child.

We can avoid using abbreviation like "father's language" and "mother's language". After all our children learn from us, and if we say that language is Italian, they will get it, and there is no need for simplification. The kids are smart.

You might also like reading:

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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Virtual babysitters or Preserving
grandchild - grandparent bond
and keeping up the minority language with video calling


Grandparents talk to grandchild on Skype

I love modern technology!
One mouse click and your loved ones are in the living room with you.
The distance between people shortens in a second making the grandchild-grandparents relationship possible to develop even when they are far away from home.

The grandparent-grandchild bond is very important especially for a child's minority language development. The grandparents can help you in your task of multilingual education. Grandchildren can see and talk to the grandparents, share their special moments (for example, Birthdays, New Years, you name it!). Grandparents can always be  near your the child from the infancy to the adulthood.

Skype logoSince the children were born, my video calling usage increased dramatically.  My parents help me a lot via Skype. They keep the kids happy and occupied with activities when I am busy preparing a meal or stepping out to get a mail. Both of my kids liked to be soothed to sleep by the grandma while sitting in the swing, it was giving something special to both of them and for me - some free time to do the house errands.

I lost count of how many evenings the grandparents were watching after and reading a bed story to the older kid, while I was feeding and putting to sleep the little one. 

My parents talk, read, sing, play musical instruments via Skype.

Do not underestimate what your parents or relatives can do for you from far away. Try to connect with them more often using video calling.


You might also like:


Raising a Bilingual Child : Setting Your Priorities From The Start. 


Check out Kids' Radio Stations from around the world!  


9 Steps of Raising a Bilingual Child Successfully. How to Start So You Don't Feel Giving It Up Halfway Through.





Are you a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language? Click here to find it now!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Your Toddler Doesn't Like to Read? Advice for parents of monolingual, bilingual or multilingual children.



You are on a couch snuggling with your baby totally excited to read him a new book. You did not even finish a page and suddenly your child is up and running around, grabbing toys. This probably happened to many of us. But why did it happen?

The first thought: he did not like the book. However, later your child will be reading it or, even more surprisingly, he will be asking you to read it again and again.

Most likely he does not understand the meaning of the words. In fact, reading is simple for us adults since we already have a rich vocabulary. But how about our little babies?

I decided to use the "do not stop reading right away" rule.

When my son moves and is not sitting on my knees, I just keep reading. Initially, I was more "reading for myself": I practiced intonations and master different voices. I could notice that my son was still listening.

Calling back to look at the picture and inventing sounds to accompany the text do bring back the attention.

You can also rephrase a story using simple words your baby already knows and every time you read it try to add more words to it. 

Consecutive readings become easier, because the child already heard and understood some of the words.

Children learn new words from us through conversation and reading, that will help tremendously to increase the minority language vocabulary.

Also, very important: before buying a book check if the pictures match the text. That way you can point out the words on the picture while reading.  I was surprised to find out that there is a big number of books for kids with beautiful pictures that hardly represent the text....I find that really non-educational.

That said, I wish a fun reading to everyone!



You might also like reading:

Bilingual child: when to start reading to your baby? 


Kids Radio Stations from Around the World!


How to develop early phonemic awareness and reading readiness by using language play with kids from birth to preschool.  


When to start teaching your child to read? 7 principles to keep in mind while teaching your child to read. 


Multilingual child: How much time do we have to influence a child's minority language development?


The Best Way to Start Building Your Bilingual Child's Vocabulary


Life story: A Journey to Multilingualism 


9 Steps of Raising a Bilingual Child Successfully. How to Start So You Don't Feel Giving It Up Halfway Through.