5 tips for expats in France who want bilingual children


Young children have got amazing capacities to learn a new language, and it’s a wonderful way to access your host country France and its culture. 5 tips for expats in France who want bilingual children

According to the findings of a recent Concordia study there exists an interesting difference in thinking among bilingual children and those who only speak their native tongue. Young kids tend to see everything as pre-existing, including characteristics, traits and languages spoken. They perceive all of these influencing factors as being innate and unchangeable. However, a bilingual child understands that all of these are learned. Thus, children are more open to change. They will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of moving abroad and find it much easier to settle into their new home.

Crown’s Intercultural Services Manager, Shaila Gidwani, has raised herself two bilingual children in Hong Kong, and she recommends: "Learning the local language is of great value. Bilingual children will find it easier to understand other cultures and relate to people in a much deeper, sensitive and efficient way. In addition, if they are able to converse with other children in the school’s playground, they will have a better chance of integrating and feeling more at home."

Following are 5 helpful tips when you want to raise your children bilingually

  1. It should be a family decision if you want bilingual children – it is important that everyone is on board. A parent who is hostile towards the idea of speaking more than one language at home risks creating a tense and stressful learning environment. It is also important to ensure that equal balance is placed on both languages. 
  2. You will have to provide a stable user of the second language with whom your kid can speak – for example, one parent or grandparent. 
  3. Try to set up a social group with other kids – interaction with other children in the second language is important, and it will allow your child to enjoy the relationship building advantages of bilingualism.
  4. Support your children in reading lots of books to discover new vocabulary and grammar structures.
  5. Do expose your child to the second language using a number of mediums – for example, engage in daily conversation at home or watch TV or YouTube videos in the second language. Make it fun – read, watch, listen and play!