Raising a Bilingual Child: Methods & Challenges

Raising a Bilingual Child - Methods, Tips and Problems - www.ysislorenna.com

With me being Brazilian and my husband being British, we have a golden opportunity in our hands of raising a bilingual child. I speak Portuguese and English, my husband speaks English, and from very early on we both decided we wanted our children to be able to speak both our native languages, so they can communicate and interact with both sides of the family.

We plan on raising our son James bilingual in the UK, where we live. Of course there are many challenges, but I believe the end result is worth the effort.

The most common scenario of a bilingual household is when both parents speak both languages, but in our case, I speak both languages, but my husband only speaks English. That makes it complicated for us to use either the ‘one parent one language’ (OPOL) or the ‘Minority Language At Home’ (ML@H) methods, as my husband doesn’t understand the minority language (Portuguese), and therefore it is awkward and inconvenient at times for me to only speak Portuguese to James.


On this video I talk about our efforts to expose James to both English and Portuguese languages, our challenges with the ‘one parent, one language’ approach and what helped me learn English as a second language. Press the play button above or click here to watch the video.

I would love to hear your suggestions for raising a bilingual child! We are at the start of our journey, so any tips will be much appreciated. Here are some websites that helped me figure out where to start when raising a bilingual child.

Raising a Bilingual Child: Where To Start

Multilingual Parenting
Bilingual Monkeys
The Economist
The Guardian
The School Run
Montessori Society
Bilingualism Matters
Parenting Forum (1 parent 2 languages)


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One Comment

  • mardiah

    I’m in Malaysia, so we have our own mother language which is Malay. But in the same time, we have to learn English in schools. I am pretty lucky to be surrounded by a lot of English-speaking people and with other races (Tamil language, Chinese etc.) Some of their parents speak one language and the other partner speak another. When they teach common things or common phrases, they say it together as 2 different sentences rather than jumbled all the languages in one sentence. It takes time but at least the kid knows the definition of these words. That’s my opinion :)

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