Planning a Multilingual Family

Living away from the home country, I didn’t need to take a decision on whether my children are going to be raised multilingual, it is just meant to be so.

At home, we speak Russian, Ukrainian with some friends, English with non-Russian/ Ukrainian speakers. Apart from Russian, Ukrainian and English, I also speak German and Polish, I’ve learned Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese which are now put on hold to give room for Dutch. The plan is to bring at least 3 languages to our child: Russian as a language to speak with the family, English is a must have and, as we live in the Netherlands, Dutch is going to be learned as well. Hopefully, Ukrainian too. (And maybe other languages too.)

But how? And where to start a multilingual family?

Reading books, listening to and singing songs, showing cartoons in 4 languages and speaking different languages in different situations. And you know what, it works, she understands everything we say in our family language and some of Dutch and English. She likes books and learning letters from all languages.

Some research on the internet showed that the topic of raising a multilingual child is quite common. I found these resources particularly interesting and worth attention to.

Bilingual Monkeys, created by an educator and parent who has worked with hundreds of bilingual and multilingual children over the past 20 years, offers strategies and support for busy parents seeking to raise bilingual children.

Multilingual Parenting by Rita Rosenback who speaks German, Swedish and Finnish. She’s worked as a language teacher, interpreter, translator and as a manager of multinational teams, now a full-time writer, speaker, trainer and coach. Having brought up two daughters to speak the family languages Rita shares with others what she learnt along the way.

Multilingual children – an entire site dedicated to kids growing up with multiple languages — expert advice and real world wisdom, parent discussions, tips, resource directory, articles and more.

Raising a Trilingual Child Practical advice based on personal experience and results of scientific research.

blog post by a parent who raises multilingual kids and shares their experience.

Facebook group where you can read real-life stories of raising bilingual/ multilingual children, find some links to language research and resources and get support from the other members.

First Published on Frogs in the Box.