More Tips on Raising a Bilingual Child

infant baby sleeping on chairMy last post included a note from a parent raising her child bilingual. She encountered some resistance from her child as she entered school and mom was encouraged by a fellow bilingual parent’s advice. When I wrote back to this mom, I asked her for more tips that were helpful. Here is what she shared:

“The best pointer she recommended was this…If Katerina says something in English, repeat it in Spanish once and then again a second time except this time make it a “fill in the blank.”  At first I thought it sounded too easy, but Katerina GETS IT.  For example, take the sentence:  Where is the apple?  I would say to Katerina: 1. Donde esta la manzana?  2. Donde esta la _______?  Katerina will automatically say manzana.  You’re supposed to leave more and more words blank according to the child’s willingness and comprehension.
Her daughter, who is Katerina’s age almost exactly, only speaks to her mother in Spanish.  This woman allowed her daughter to watch TV, but only Spanish programs.  She also will read to her only in Spanish…something I used to do too.  She said there is an 80-20 rule.  She speaks to her in Spanish 80% of the day or allows her to be exposed to Spanish 80% of the day.  The 20% is when she’s with friends, school or dad. 
I hope this helps.  If I get any other pointers, I will pass it along.   : )”
Let me know if you have any helpful hints for other parents who are raising bilingual children. It’s not easy but certainly a gift you are giving to your child. 
PS. Do you love Peter’s new infant photography? I had to show it off. Check out
This entry was posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, Bilingual, Birth-3 year-olds, Elementary School Age, Preschool, Strategies to Encourange Language Development. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to More Tips on Raising a Bilingual Child

  1. Gaby Martorano says:

    I speak only in spanish to my son Gio and my husband english. He is 19months right now and can only say 8 words I feel this is not enough words and plus most of them are in english. Did you go through that too? Is this normal? My mom, the sitter and me speak spanish to him but the kids by the sitter only speak english so he seems to pick it up from them easier.

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