Spotlight on Raising Multi-Cultural Children

Posted by Kate Spears on

Join us on this edition of WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn with host Cynthia Putman and guest Kathlyn Walter, School Nutrition Supervisor for Putnam County Schools, as they share information about what it’s like to raise a multilingual child. Kathlyn and her husband, who is originally from China, want to teach their daughter both English and Chinese.

Raising a child who is multilingual can create opportunities as well as challenges. Learning just one language is complicated, but experts say that young children have a great capacity to learn more than one language if it is presented in the right way.

PBS Parents has some great resources for parents who are facing this issue. From tips for introducing kids to a foreign language, to some of the frequently asked questions by parents, there is no shortage of info to be found.

Here’s an excerpt from the PBS Parents tips for introducing kids to a foreign language, including popular methods to help you find the right way for your child to learn another language:

  • Bilingual immersion - a teaching method where a second language is integrated with academic curriculum at school

  • Extracurricular programs - possibly taking place on weekends or afternoons after school.

  • Books & videos - One way to introduce your kids to language is with reading and screen time.

  • Speaking to them - Speak to your child in whatever language you are fluent in. Make it part of your everyday routine.

  • Travel with your kids - If possible, give your children an opportunity to travel and interact with native

  • Make it fun - "When a child feels like they're being taught something, they can tune out and become disinterested very quickly," says Karen Wu Audi, cofounder of the aha! Chinese language program. "So instead, I've always tried to weave in learning naturally and make it fun at the same time."

When parents are from different countries, there is more being merged than language. It’s important also to teach children about the different cultural heritage that they have. PBS Parents has a great article about how to teach kids about culture and diversity.

Create family traditions around different cultural practices and holidays. And it doesn’t have to be a question of choosing one over the other. There’s no reason the two can’t be merged, so each parent feels represented.

Kids shouldn’t have to choose which of their parents cultures or languages to embrace. When both are presented in a positive light, children can feel like they have even more to be proud of about their history and heritage.

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Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.

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