How can we help support bilingualism in our children?

As a teacher, being multilingual has opened many doors. I have been able to meet and communicate with people from all over the world. I am able to read great literature in its original language. I am able to travel and work in all different parts of the globe.

In addition to all of these things, being bilingual, or multilingual, has many other benefits. Bilingual students consistently perform better on executive function tasks than their monolingual peers. (Bhattacharjee, 2012). Being bilingual has shown to reduce dementia in elderly people (Kave, 2008). Speaking more than one language makes you more open minded. Your brain is already wired to have multiple world views, so you can adapt to changes more easily. (Bonfiglio, 2018)

Coming from a country where almost 70% of the children are being raised in bilingual environments (Beshaj, 2016), it is important for my own children to maintain their bilingualism as well.

How can we help support bilingualism in our children?

  1. Read in your home language. Children who are read at home have more experience with language in general. They are exposed to the ways stories work, no matter the language. They can then apply this knowledge to their own writing. Children benefit from being read to no matter their age, whether it is picture books or plays and poetry (, 2018).
  2. Speak your native language with your child. Many people think that children will get confused by speaking many different languages, but this is not true. Children all over the world learn 2, 3, and 4 languages at once, depending on their situations . One of the best ways to support your child’s second language learning is to maintain their home language (Zelasko, 2000).
  3. Make language learning fun. Children learn best when they are having fun. Adults can force themselves to focus on a specific task, like learning a vocabulary list. Children learn best while playing, singing songs, or just talking in that language (, 2018) .

Citation links:

Chontelle Bonfiglio. (2018, December 5). 10 Amazing Benefits of Being Bilingual. Retrieved December 18, 2019, from

Beshaj, L. (2016). Bilingualism in Albania and Its Benefits. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. doi: 10.5901/ajis.2016.v5n3s1p436

Zelasko, N., and Antunez, B. (2000). If your child learns in two languages. National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education. Retrieved from LearnsInTwoLangs_English.pdf

Kavé G, Eyal N, Shorek A, Cohen‐Mansfield J. (2008). Multilingualism and cognitive state in the oldest old. Psychol Aging 2008;23:70–78.

Bhattacharjee, Y. (2012, March 17). Why Bilinguals Are Smarter. Retrieved December 20, 2019, from (2018, June 29). How To Make Language Learning Fun For Kids. Retrieved from