When your multilingual children are speaking with you, do you give them your undivided attention? Do you provide answers that show that you are really listening? That you are truly engaged with what they are saying? Or are many of your answers in the form of a distracted, “Uh-huh” or “Mmmm”?
To encourage our multilingual children to want to speak with us in our language, we need to make sure to let them know that we are listening fully when they speak.
If you realize that you have been responding with a lot of “Mmmm” lately, don’t feel too bad… we all do this! Especially after a long day at work and we are exhausted. The first step is to pay attention to when we do this.
Try to find ways to set aside at least half an hour of time each evening (much more on the weekends) when your child gets your undivided multilingual attention. This will make a big difference in your multilingual child’s interest and mastery of her languages.