Top tips

Guide for parents

Guide for parents raising a multilingual family – The early years (0-5 years)

WFBG exists since 2003 and we have discussed issues, concerns and advice given by others on many, many occasions. From these discussions we have extracted some very basic tips

which every bilingual family starting out will find useful to read. Thanks to all members who have shared with us their experiences.

Every family is different !

There is no solution that will suit everyone. Don’t slavishly copy any system recommended by anyone – including us! Every rule can be broken. Think about what you are comfortable with and how your family works, what opportunities you have, and how you can work around those you don’t have. This doesn’t mean you have to accept things as they are, and not try to change things within your family, but if you are struggling to bring about a change in order to follow someone else’s rules, you may well not come across as convincing or wholehearted, you may be using up energy better invested elsewhere and you may achieve better results by focusing on something else. Children are also very quick to notice when people are sincere and when they are pretending, when they really mean something and when they don’t.

What is Bilingualism ?

Bilingualism is a deceptively simple term which means many things to many people. There are many different definitions of bilingualism and much debate over what degree of proficiency and / or fluency in two languages a person requires in order to be considered bilingual. However, for our purposes, we would define bilingualism simply as using two languages on a regular basis.