Many Asian moms in the U.S. complain that their children used to speak their native language before going to school, but once they start school, they talk only in English. The kids understand their language, but do not respond in it. What happens when they start school?
Children have impressionable minds. They see their teachers and classmates talking in English and they want to speak the same language to be accepted in this new environment. They carry this influence at home and start speaking English with their family as well. Some Asian moms try their best and are successful in keeping their children bilingual or multilingual, while others fail in their efforts.
Also, many Asian moms believe in different myths about raising bilingual children. These myths include assumptions such as bilingualism may cause speech delays, their children may not be able to interact fluently with their friends in school, and the two languages might confuse them. Numerous studies have shown advantages of bilingualism among children which make them smarter than monolingual children.
Are you struggling to teach your child your native language? I have some suggestions which might be useful in making your child learn your language.
Reading Books In Native Language And Narrating Cultural Stories: Children love hearing stories. Read your cultural stories to them in your native language. This will motivate them to listen to the language and think and respond in it. These stories will make your language an important part of their childhood.
Make Children Participate In Cultural Activities: Language is an important part of any culture. Encourage your kids to participate in various activities associated with your culture and religion. This will provide them an opportunity to be in an environment where they can express themselves in your language and learn more about it.
Join Groups Of Families Doing Cultural/Religious Things Together: Give an opportunity to your children to learn the language by surrounding them with children speaking and doing things in your native language. Like, I have joined a group of families who get together bi-weekly and do prayers in my native language.
Make Your Children Talk To Their Grandparents In Your Native Language: Talking to grandparents in native language not only provides them an opportunity to practice their language, but also makes the family ties strong.
Be A Role Model For Them By Talking To Them In Your Language: Finally, it is important to practice what you preach. If you want your child to learn your native language, you have to speak it yourself.
Make language learning an enjoyable experience for your children by singing songs and nursery rhymes with them in your language. Do you have more suggestions about how we Asian moms can make our kids learn our language? Share them with me.