The ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting: The Letter C

by Corey · 2 comments

C is for CHOOSE a multilingual parenting method!

There is no doubt in my mind that you can raise children multilingually without having any kind of language plan. But why would you want to?  Having one can really help, especially when difficult days raise their ugly heads!  Don’t worry, you can always change your method along the way.

But first things first: what in the world is a “multilingual parenting method” anyway?

A multilingual parenting method is pretty much whatever you choose it to be.  Honestly! In fact, you are probably following some kind of method or plan without even realizing it.

  • Do you and your spouse each speak different languages with your children? Then you are doing the One-Parent-One-Language (OPOL) method.
  • Or maybe you and your spouse both speak the same language with your children; a language that is different from the community language? This method is called Minority-Language-at-Home (mL@H).

However, those are just two of the many different methods and approaches you can take. Don’t feel that you have to stick to just one of those. Some have more “success” than others but it really just depends on what your definition of “multilingual parenting success” is.

The key to finding a method, plan, approach or direction that will work for you and your family is the following:

  • It feels comfortable,
  • keeps language(s) alive in your home, and
  • is something you can maintain over the long haul.

Whatever you decide, come up with an initial plan, give it a whirl and know that you can change it again down the road if and when things change in your lives. Nothing is set in stone!

Living multilingually is all about adapting, growing and developing linguistically as a family – embrace it for all it is worth. Aim for as much language exposure as possible for your children and you will be on the right path!

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 all of 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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria Babin March 1, 2011 at 8:55 am

really love these abc’s and your writing style – so simple and down-to-earth. i believe we need more of this in the multilingual parenting world! great advice! and yes, i agree, you do need to have a plan, knowing that you also need to evolve with your plan! a language is a living thing and so are our children!


2 Corey March 2, 2011 at 12:34 am

Thank you for your comment, Maria! You are so right about evolving with our plans, I couldn’t agree more! At the beginning I felt like once I had a plan in place then I could just sit back and not think about it anymore – hah! Nothing could be further from the truth. But on the other hand, that is what makes multilingual parenting so enjoyable and engaging.

I love your blog – makes me hungry every time I check it out! 🙂


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