How to Raise a Bilingual Child

Yes, I’ll admit it: I’m monolingual. Took Spanish in high school, but that was a looong time ago. And now that my son is taking Spanish in middle school, I’m not much help, I’m afraid.

That’s why I was so intrigued by a terrific book, 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child, by Naomi Steiner, M.D. with Susan Hayes. Steiner is a developmental-behavior pediatrician who works with bilingual families at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and Hayes is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Parent & Child, Parenting, Woman’s Day and other publications.

There are so many potential advantages for our kids if they know a second language:

°    It’s a huge advantage in competing for and succeeding in jobs in our ever-shrinking world.

°    It provides a more complex understanding of other countries and cultures.

°    It makes travel to other countries easier and more enriching.

There is evidence that learning a second language early in life offers advantages for brain development, too:

°    More cognitive firepower is devoted to language.

°    The child is better able to deal with distractions.

°    Learning a second language makes it easier to learn a third language.

°    Knowing more than one language helps improve the memory and leads to more creative use of language.

Really, there’s no downside to raising a bilingual child. But where do you start, especially if you speak only one language yourself?

This book answers every question I could think of — and then some. You’ll learn about common myths about bilingualism, how to define your language goals for your child, how to decide which parent will speak which language to a child in a bilingual home, making the most of family and community resources, reading and writing in a second language and much more.

If you’re even thinking about raising your child to speak more than one language, you’ll want to check out this book. For more information, click here.


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4 Responses to “How to Raise a Bilingual Child”

  1. Annette says:

    AND it’s a great opportunity to do something with your child! My son and I took ASL (American Sign Language) together at the local community college when I was homeschooling him through junior high. I joked with him that I wanted to be able to yell at him in public and not have anyone hear what I was saying. ;-)

  2. Kathy says:

    LOVE that idea, Annette! Too funny, too. I’m sure you both had a good time doing that together.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I so want my girls to be multilingual, but neither my husband or I speak another language. I took Spanish through high school and college, but have since forgotten most of it!

    I may add this book to my library list. I’m curious what ideas the author proposes…

  4. Kathy says:

    Good idea re the library list. I need to add to ours, too. Now that it’s possible to request books online to be picked up at the library, it’s so much easier.