Par­ent­ing tips for kids who are bilin­gual

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY -

IN OUR in­creas­ingly mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety, fam­i­lies are speak­ing more than one lan­guage and as a re­sult many chil­dren are grow­ing up in bilin­gual home en­vi­ron­ments.

If your fam­ily speaks lan­guages other than English at home, you’ll need to make de­ci­sions about how you’ll help your child learn both English and your na­tive lan­guage.

This presents its own chal­lenges, but firstly it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that each fam­ily sit­u­a­tion has its own cir­cum­stances.

BOTH PART­NERS SPEAK A MI­NOR­ITY LAN­GUAGE AT HOME

Fam­i­lies who speak a lan­guage other than English at home of­ten worry about its im­pact on their child’s de­vel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tion within Aus­tralian so­ci­ety.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that your child will be learn­ing English out in the com­mu­nity, via the me­dia and at school. Teach­ing them your na­tive lan­guage won’t de­prive them of the chance of learn­ing English.

Se­condly, var­i­ous stud­ies have found that rais­ing a bilin­gual child has many ben­e­fits in­clud­ing:

■ Bet­ter aca­demic re­sults, in­clud­ing bet­ter English re­sults

■ More di­verse ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties later in life

■ An en­hanced sense of self-worth and be­long­ing

■ An un­der­stand­ing of their cul­tural her­itage and iden­tity.

Maybe you speak English, but your part­ner speaks an­other na­tive lan­guage?

Al­ter­na­tively, maybe both adults speak a lan­guage other than English at home.

The best idea is to have each par­ent speak in their na­tive lan­guage to the child. For ex­am­ple, you might speak English to your child, while your part­ner talks with them in Man­darin.

Our WBHHS child health team is avail­able to sup­port lo­cal fam­i­lies. You can visit the team at the the Bund­aberg of­fice. — Wide Bay Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice

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