The ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting: The Letter A

by Corey · 10 comments

A is for ASK Questions!

Find reliable experts and supportive families and ask as many questions as you can.

You need to be as prepared as possible so get into the habit of asking other bilingual and multilingual families what is and is not working for them.

Remember that you don’t have to follow the same path that they are following! Asking questions is about learning as much as we can about different options, approaches and perspectives so that our decisions can be as informed as possible.

Plus, who knows, you might end up with a fantastic support group simply by being open to learning about other families’ approaches!

We are going through the alphabet one letter at a time, multilingual-style! Join in the fun and add your own ideas, suggestions and tips in the comments below that begin with today’s letter! Check out the ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting posts so far!

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, in German and English.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Willem Larsen February 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

A is for Adults –

One of the most important things is for my children (7 yrs and 6 months) to see Adults speaking to each other in our languages – Irish (Gaeilge), Chinook Jargon, and ASL. We have language nights and other gatherings where a small group of adults and children come together, and they can see that these are languages that are part of the Adult world, not just an odd hobby of their parents.

Here’s a video of our 7 year old Jackson playing along in Chinuk Jargon last summer during a language night:

This is part of local native language revitalization work I do – Chinuk is endangered, and it needs as many speakers as it can get, especially young children.


2 Shannon February 16, 2011 at 11:42 am

To raise your children multilingually requires parents to be adamant about it. In other words, to be committed and persistent and not to give up or cave to the admonishments of monolingual grandparents and others who try to sap your willpower!


3 Melissa Ferrin February 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I just wanted to say, Willem. I love you comment.


4 Melissa Ferrin February 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Ugh, time for a nap. That should read. I just wanted to say, Willem, I love your comment. 😉


5 Willem Larsen February 17, 2011 at 6:30 am

Thanks Melissa!


6 Yadira February 17, 2011 at 12:45 am

to realize being a multilingual family is the result of work, commitment and patience… and many laughs!!


7 Gretha February 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

A for Active.
Being active with language all the time
so your child is able to use it


8 Marnie February 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

A is for Acknowledge
We acknowledge all communication attempts to reinforce the importance of language which will make it that much more likely for our children to try again and again, thus resulting in more success!


9 Melanie February 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Really great idea! You should make it into a little picture book when you are done so that I can pass it out to parents lol!


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