Raising bilingual children...is it really that easy?
How many times did you think “I’m too tired, I will give up, this is not worth it”?
All those times your children speak back to you in English, get annoyed by you trying to make conversation in your language or even get bothered if you try that in public; all those books read in your mother tongue at night, hoping to spark an interest in your heritage language and still they will ask you to buy only English books; all those “Please daddy, can we watch it in English?”…
So now you know, is not an easy job and most parents need to put time and effort into the process, children don’t just naturally grow up able to speak the family languages.
And we at Mother Tongues, always try to give parents as many tips and tricks as possible to try to make the most out of your time and effort, but sometimes this is not enough. Sometimes, you can still think “Oh well, when they grow up, if they want, they can study the language”, or “My mother tongue is not spoken in any other country, so at the end of the day, my child is not missing anything if they don’t speak it”.
In these challenging times – homeschooling, working from home, lockdown, you name it – we thought to give you another angle on this topic. Real testimonials of adults who grew up bilingual are a much stronger encouragement for those struggling to keep up the heritage language at home.
Mind your language
For this reason, and to celebrate International Mother Language Day, we produced a series of videos called Mind Your Language, where interviewees talk about their experience of being (or not!) brought up bilingual and how that shaped their identities and lives.
You will listen to the stories of those who will be forever grateful to their parents to have kept insisting and those who sadly admit that they feel a part of them is lost in translation, for not being able to communicate with half of the family or not having the possibility to fully embrace their origins.
When you are tired and feel like you want to give up, remember that language is not only a tool, but it’s part of your story, your heritage, your identity and so it is and will be for your children.
To pass the language on will mean to enrich them, to keep the link with your (and their!) roots!
These stories gave us goosebumps and truly showed us once again why we do what we do at Mother Tongues.
Upcoming webinars for members
Find out about some of the key tips to successfully raise bilingual children, and bring all your questions! Dr Francesca La Morgia will address your doubts, concerns and curiosities in a lively Q&A.
This webinar is designed for parents/carers of children between the ages of 0 and 5.