Why should I set language goals for my children?

Why should I set language goals for my children-

Get your copy of the Bilingual Journal!  Click on the image to get your copy!


Transcript #104

Hey there and welcome to another Question and Answer edition of the Bilingual Avenue podcast!

I have a question for you, have you joined the Bilingual Avenue newsletter?  If not, you are missing out!

I send out information that is exclusive to my newsletter subscribers!  I also share  anything I am working on first to my newsletter subscribers!  It is super easy to join, just head over to bilingualavenue.com/newsletter

Alright, let’s switch gears now to the question for this episode.

Hello Marianna,

I have just gone through your first 75 episodes and I have added at least two new things to my daily routine thanks to the info you have shared on the show.  I am considering listening to a few episodes again because I know I can probably pick up a few more tidbits.

One thing I often hear you mention the importance of setting language goals.  Overtime you say that I think of two things, 1) why are you such a big fan of setting goals and 2) isn’t it wrong for us to put that much pressure on your children? I want them to become bilingual but I dont want to make them feel like so much is at stake and that they have failed if they don’t meet the goals I have set for them.

Would you mind sharing a bit more of what you mean by this?

I am not against goal setting, I just want to make sure I do it right.

Best wishes from California,


Thanks Claudia for your question and for allowing me to share it with the Bilingual Avenue community!

I have saved this particular episode for the beginning of the year since goal setting is such a hot topic during the month of January. You may be listening to this episode later in the year and don’t let that discourage you because you can set goals at any time of the year! It is never too late to start. 

If you are serious about goal setting, stick around because I have a freebie for you that can help you to get the ball rolling on your language goals. I’ll explain to it in more detail at after answering the first of Claudia’s question but if you want to get your hands on it now, just head over to bilingualavenue.com/episode104

Ok so let’s answer Claudia’s first question, let me share with you why I am such a fan of setting goals.

In a study of Harvard’s Master of Business Administration graduates, the group of students was asked about their goal setting practices.  The results are quite astonishing! 

84% of the graduates had no specific goals, 13% had goals but they were never written down while only 3% had goals and had taken the time to write them down. 

The same group of graduates was surveyed ten years later and the 13% who had unwritten goals, were on average earning twice as much as the 84% who did not have any goals to begin with. 

What is most surprising however, is that the 3% who had taken the time to write their goals were on average earning ten times as much as the other 97%! 

The findings from the Harvard study is one of the many examples that goal setting is a valuable exercise!

Goals are NOT limited to just business or professional goals.

This practice can come in handy when raising multilingual children especially because goals are meant to challenge you and help you move forward.  It can help family’s develop a road map for how to expose their children to the target language.

Now one thing I do want you to keep in mind when setting goals is that they are not meant to be rigid. In fact, some of the best goals are revisited and tweaked over time allowing you to account for any changes to the family dynamic.

How could language goals play out in your family?

Well, choosing the level of bilingualism you want to pursue requires you to be realistic about the amount of exposure and practice you can give your child in a second language. 

What do I mean by that? Well if you want your children to, for example, be able to read and write in two languages… you are going to need to make sure that they learn how to do it. 

If they are not receiving instruction in school in both languages, either you are going to have to teach them to read and write in the language they are not receiving at school or you are going to have to find someone to teach them.

On the other hand, if you just want them to be able to be able to speak a second language then the amount of exposure you will have to ensure that they get will be very different.

The reason why I encourage all parents who are looking to raise bilingual children to work on their goals is because understanding your goals will give you one important thing… clarity on where you want to go!

Once you have that clarity, you will have a much easier time identifying what you and how you need to help your children.

As I mentioned earlier in the episode, I have created a free tool to help you achieve your language goals, The Bilingual Journal. 

It is broken up into 12 sections, one for each month.  In the journal, you will have an opportunity to document your successes, challenges, lessons learned and goals. 

There are also some great thought provoking questions to help you think through your goals!

Research has shown that journaling is one of the best tools to help you achieve your goals because it can help you to stay on track and motivated.

It is also very valuable because it can help you identify what is working and what isn’t.

The Bilingual Journal is free and is my gift to you to get you started on your language goals.

You can get a copy of the journal at bilingualavenue.com/episode104 or if that’s too hard to memorize, just head over to bilingualavenue.com/bilingualjournal and I will send you your free copy right away.

If you commit to journaling, I can guarantee you that you are going to love this process.  I till help you achieve your goals and you are going to enjoy keeping track of these memories when your children are older and their early years feel distant.

Again, you can get your free copy at bilingualavenue.com/bilingualjournal

Now let’s move on to Claudia’s second question, isn’t it wrong for us to put that much pressure on your children?

I am really glad you asked this Claudia because it can be easily misinterpreted.

I encourage parents to set goals in two ways. 

The first way is by thinking of language outcomes. What would you like your children to achieve? 

This question is mean to have big picture goals.  The big picture goal would be more like: “I want my child to be able to read in English and Spanish.”  I find that as I said before these big picture goals give you clarity and because they are long term you are not putting a whole lot of pressure on your child.

The second way is by setting goals of how YOU ARE going to help them along on their journey.  This is something I have focused on in prior years and will be a focus this year.

So let me give you an example, I have started working on the alphabet with my three year old.  My goals for this year are not how many letters she is going to learn by a certain time but more how I am going to go about teaching it to her.

I hope that helps you Claudia to get some insights into how I think about goal setting for my family and their language development.

If you are setting goals (and again I think this is super important for bilingual parents) and you want to journal about your progress, check out The Bilingual Journal.

You can get your copy at bilingualavenue.com/episode104 or bilingualavenue.com/bilingualjournal

If you have a question you want answered on the show, head over to bilingualavenue.com/contact and send in your concern. I’d love to feature you on a previous episode.

May you have fun travels on your language journey. Hope to see you again on the Avenue.

Leave a Reply