Advice for Parents/Carers of Bilingual Children acquiring their home language with no difficulties
It is important that you continue to use all languages introduced to your child. Do not be concerned about mixing different languages in one sentence. This is very natural development for bilingual children.
Be consistent in your choice of words to name objects.
Be comfortable with your use of language. The most important thing is that your child learns one language well.
The focus should be helping your child feel successful in giving and receiving a message. Continue speaking your chosen language to your child even if he or she speaks back to you in a different language. If the child responds the message has been understood.
Whichever language you decide to use, keep it simple.
Use short phrases with lots of gesture and facial expression, as well as expression in your voice. This will help the child understand the meaning behind the words.
Encourage your child’s attempts to communicate in either language, giving lots of praise.
Use nursery rhymes and stories from any culture/language.
Advice from Speech and Language Therapy programmes can be given in any language. Discuss this with your Speech & Language Therapist.
You may be concerned that if your child has not heard much English, he/she will be at a disadvantage when starting school. However, as long as your child has a strong foundation in their mother tongue, then there should be no difficulty learning English.
The Speech & Language Therapy profession recognises that Bilingualism in a child is an advantage to learning.