The ABC’s of Multilingual Parenting: The Letter E

by Corey · 3 comments

E is for EASY!

Raising children in more than one language doesn’t feel easy?  No doubt, most of us will answer a loud, resounding “NO!” to this question!  Unless you live in a community where multilingualism is part of the culture, you are most likely having to work pretty hard to keep your language(s) alive in your home. You are not alone!

If that is the case, then what do we mean when we say “E is for EASY“?

Just because raising children in more than one language can be difficult at times doesn’t mean that it has to feel difficult. Here are some tips on how to make raising children multilingually feel like a walk in the park:

  • Focus on how it makes you feel to raise your children multilingually. Regardless of what others do or say (even in your own family) focus on the joy you feel inside about the good you are doing for your whole family. Hold onto that feeling whenever you feel frustrated about your multilingual parenting.
  • Imagine that everything is going just as planned. Even if your kids never respond back in your language, your mother-in-law thinks you are insane for doing what you are doing, and your spouse isn’t helping one iota… turn the tables! Instead of reacting against them, close your eyes and picture them doing exactly what you’d like. This isn’t about changing them, it is about seeing them and everything else in such a lovely light that that it no longer gets under your skin.
  • Look into the future. Are your children still young? Are you still getting comfortable with raising children, let alone raising them multilingually? Don’t let yourself get too focused on this moment in time. Look to the future when your children are thanking you for everything you did to raise them multilingually. The time will come. Just step back and bit and you can see it.
  • Stop judging yourself. Do you feel like others are judging you in your choice to raise your children multilingually? The truth is, it matters less what they think and more what you think. Most likely you feel that they are judging you because you are judging yourself harsher than anyone else could. Stop judging yourself and start supporting yourself. This is time for teamwork!

It may take a while to get used to implementing the tips listed above but once they become habits, you will find that multilingual parenting is a breeze. Indeed, it may even start to feel… yes… EASY!

We may not realize it but much of what makes our multilingual parenting so tough on us is what is going on in our own heads. The less we let the little stuff get under our skin, the less we listen to the discouraging voices in our head, the more we can focus on the most important elements in multilingual parenting: our family and ourselves!

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 15, 14 and 12, in German and English.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marlene March 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm

EMBRACE your journey to raise your children bilingually or multilingually. ENJOY every minute of it!


2 Sigita March 16, 2011 at 3:22 am

E is for EXCEPTION, as all rules and theories have it! 🙂


3 Abby March 17, 2011 at 1:52 am

E is for Empathy- all learners need support!


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