Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Help Your Child Maintain Their Bilingual Roots

The ability to speak more than one language is not just a cool talent. It is also an incredibly marketable skill. If your child is already bilingual you should encourage them to maintain this ability for those reasons.

Language Begins at Home

If you or others in your home are bilingual or multilingual, speak these other languages when you are at home as often as you can. Children learn language by listening and mimicking. Just hearing both languages being used around the house can give your child’s mind a context on which to build their own vocabulary. Speaking to your child in both languages directly also will help teach your child conversational skills and practical use of the language.

A Little Care and Maintenance Can’t Hurt

Child care centres are another excellent resource for language building. These centres provide a concentrated and more formal learning environment. If you are expatriates (or “expats”) your local network may have some good recommendations. Some centres will divide classes by age while others will divide classes by language skill level. You should decide what format will help your child learn best, depending on where they are in their language developmental milestones. Most children, however, do best in age-specific classes, as they are then exposed to communicating with children both on higher and lower levels than themselves, making it easier for them to learn by example and teach others around them.

Use an App

Technology is everywhere and language learning is no exception. You can apply the principle of “gamification” to helping your child stay bilingual. Gamification provides rewards and incentives for completing everyday tasks. Language learning apps often use points systems if you use them regularly to maintain your abilities. Other apps allow you to “unlock” more advanced vocabulary. Apps can be an easy and fun way to quickly remind your child of common words.

Make it Entertaining

Another great way to learn or maintain a language is by absorbing media. What is a popular show in your country? See if you can find a version of this show that has subtitles. Your child will then begin to associate the language they already know with its foreign equivalent. If your child doesn’t like television, you can try putting words to music instead. Cultures around the world have variations on children’s folk songs. Sing along when you’re in the car together or doing chores. Music can be a great tool for helping words and ideas stick in a child’s mind.

Speaking a language is not just about literal communication. It can also be an act of cultural preservation. Talking to your child in a foreign language brings you closer together. In the process they can learn more about their heritage and “visit” a country they may not know much about.

Tim Esterdahl

Find Us on Social Media

Pepsi just delivered Sierra Mist and Mountain Dew "Frost Bite" to cool off just as the weather's heating up! ☀️🥤 ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Holy Cow! We've got Milk! Meadow Gold Dairies had a surplus to unload and called IFCS; we are so grateful. We're here Monday-Friday to feed Coloradans in need. Email if you're a food supplier or distributor and want to help! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

IFCS On Twitter

Check out our news in the Littleton Independent.,299770

We are BLOWN AWAY by the quality of fresh fruit and fresh veggies we got from @FoodBankRockies today! Simply gorgeous. Call 303-789-0501 to get your box today.

Who remembers the IFCS Flood of 2017? Well, we had another pipe burst, but this time, staff was here to stop it from demolishing the building! We have some cleaning to do, but all food and goods are safe!

Load More...

Key Sponsors

Our Affliations




Sign Up for our eNewsletter

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

USDA Non-Discrimination Policy

IFCS follows the USDA non-discrimination policy. Learn more by clicking here to read the statement. (PDF)