The No Game: Get Your Bilingual Child Talking!

by Corey · 2 comments

What child, bilingual, multilingual or monolingual, can resist responding to a parent who is clearly wrong!?

Want to find out if your bilingual child understands what you are saying?  Want to get your bilingual child to respond to you?

Then play the No Game!

It will be hard for your child to not answer you when you go out of your way to be totally and completely wrong!

During the day make statements to your child that are clearly wrong.  For example, when pointing to a cat say, “Oh, look, there is a dog!”  Or in the morning, say to your child, “Good night.”

You can encourage even longer sentences and discussion based on your statements and questions.  For example, you might say, “Your math teacher, Mr. Smith, sure did give you a lot of reading homework!” when you know that your child’s math teacher is named Mrs. Kennedy and the reading teacher is named Mr. Hill and neither gave any homework on that day.

What multilingual fun can be had by just being very, very wrong as much as possible!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maluc May 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I like this tip “the no game” and I think it works as I’ve been using the technique myself when talking to my young children who are raised in three languages. Making complete wrong statements pushes my kids (3 and 2) to correct me in the language I want them to. They want to show they know the correct word, object, etc. and are eager to say it. I’ve been doing that for a long time often just to test that they are understanding me well and know the correct words to respond. It works great if you use it at the right time without anoying the kids.


2 Corey May 15, 2010 at 1:48 am

You are so right about making sure not to annoy the kids with this “game”! And I am delighted to hear that it is working for you as well. Now that my kids are older, they know it is a game and sometimes play along and sometimes not but I still use it from time to time to make sure they are listening. Hah! Thanks for visiting the site!


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