When raising bilingual kids, two of the best things you can do are 1) provide them with plenty of exposure to the target language and 2) create a need for them to use that language.
In this post, we will talk about how to ensure that your kids are being exposed to plenty of the target language.
In order for our children to use the target language, we need to expose them to the vocabulary that they will need to use. As our children get older, the capacity for vocabulary intake grows so that keep that in mind.
Assess the amount of exposure you are providing
To start, I want you to assess how much exposure your children are provided in the target language. I do not want you to worry about percentages and what others are saying that your child needs. Simply take a look at your very own family dynamics and see where the exposure is coming from.
Now here is the real challenge. I do not want you to guess how much exposure you are providing. I actually want you to reflect. Take a week to do it and see where you land. This is something that we work on in the Bilingual Avenue Members’ Club.
We have an exposure assessment tool built into the language plan that I help members craft. I love seeing what members find once they are done with the assessment. You can do something similar at home.
Inundate your child with exposure
Once you see where you land in terms of exposure, the real work begins. I want you to challenge yourself to essentially inundate your child with as much exposure as you can. It seems so basic but it really is a foundational element to language journey.
Think about where that exposure will be coming from. Will it come from you? Do you have other speakers of the target language around you whether they are family or non-family members? What type of literature can your kids be exposed to in the target language? What digital tools can you use to help you along such as video and audio?
The more you take the time to plan and think through the exposure, the more you will be able to fit into your child’s day.
Play is the best type of exposure
If I could leave you with one last thought on how to increase exposure, I encourage you to invest some time playing with your child.
Playing is wonderful for language development. It is a great tool for building vocabulary all while working on age appropriate vocabulary. Not only will you be bonding but you will be teaching your child words that they will want to use.
It is a gentle and efficient way of increasing exposure. Set a goal to play for at least ten minutes a day in your target language. If you can do more, even better. Just make the commitment and you will see what a difference in makes.