Bilingual culture is a part of everyday society, including in the world of children. The proved benefits of children speaking dual languages have been reflected in schools and the media. From dual language immersion programs in elementary schools to television shows that portray bilingual children, such as Disney's Spanish Handy Manny or Nickelodeon's Chinese Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, teaching another language to a child has become highly recommended.

Most families of multiples have an "instant" preschool in their home with two or more children of the same age. In a recent article in the New York Times, language specialist Roberta Golinkoff says, "Being immersed in a dual language and living within it are what lead to language learning." Parents, including those of multiples, can create a daily environment where the dual language is prominent. For a bilingual family, you can keep the languages separate by person and place. A mother only speaks Spanish and a father speaks English to the children. Grandma's house might be a place where only Spanish is spoken. Pregnant with twins, Olga Murphy, wanted to raise her twins bilingual. Olga spoke to her twins in German and her husband spoke to them in English. At the age of two, the twins had no problem separating the language saying goodnight to Olga in German and goodnight to her husband in English. Now in school, the twins speak to each other in English at school but German at home.

Some resources to help parents navigate the world of raising bilingual children are the following:
SpanglishBaby is a community where parents can share ideas, ask advice, and explore the bilingual culture. http://www.spanglishbaby.com

Language Lizards offer dual-language books, CDs and posters in over 40 languages, including both popular and less commonly taught languages. http://www.languagelizard.com

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child by Naomi Steiner, M.D. A developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Tufts, Dr. Steiner grew up speaking four languages and her Swiss husband five languages. Her personal experience raising her two children to be bilingual as well as dealing with bilingual families in her practice make this guide especially helpful. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814400469?ie=UTF8&tag=playonw...

The Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network is made up of families around the world who are raising their children bilingually and/or biculturally. The group provides support and resources in the form of a website and e-newsletter. http://www.biculturalfamily.org

Sing-A-Lingo "Where children ages 2 to 6 learn Spanish through song" Piña and Michael Madera, co-founders of Sing-A-Lingo, are Spanish speaking parents who made the decision to raise their children bilingual. Piña and Michael developed Sing-A-Lingo so parents can find tools that integrated Spanish into their daily lives. http://www.singalingo.com

Bilingualism has positive effects on children's linguistic and educational development. When children continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages throughout their primary school years, they gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively.

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Tags: bilingual, children, multiples, twins

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