They are full of surprises!
It’s been over a year since my daughter hit the language explosion and when it came, I was elated! I had studied and researched this milestone in language development forever but nothing came close to the excitement I felt when I realized we were in the middle of it!
It was certainly exciting to see it happen in Spanish but I could almost predict which words she would be producing. After all, I was her only source of Spanish. I had intentionally taught her each and every word.
The unexpected treat for me was seeing her English also take off! When the language explosion hit us, we were nestled in the breathtaking German Black Forest and English was one of our two minority languages. Every day when daddy came home, I had the pleasure of hearing all the new words she was adding to her English vocabulary and I loved every minute of it.
On her last day of German preschool, I got one more surprise!
The teachers gave me a handmade book full of my daughter’s memories from her time at the Kindertagesstätte. On the very last page of the book, they had written down just some of the words she knew in German!
I was already holding back the tears as I said goodbye to her wonderful teachers so you can only imagine how this language lover mama felt after seeing all of her linguistic progress!
They have an amazing memory!
As multilingual parents, we are often focused on how many words our children are saying and in what languages.
We often overlook some of the other elements of language development and memory is almost always one of them. We forget that children must remember and understand words before they can say them!
Our multilingual children are memorizing words in two or more languages and we should never take that for granted! We should help them cultivate a good working memory and praise them for it.
They don’t get caught up in the myths!
Perhaps my favorite thing about bilingual kids is that they never get caught up in the myths about bilingualism!
They don’t worry about whether or not speaking more than one language will cause a delay.
They are not concerned that learning more than one language may or may not confuse them.
They certainly do not stay up at night wondering if mixing languages will be detrimental to their own learning.
Instead, they just do it! They learn their languages, they speak them and they live them!
They show us their amazing cognitive abilities day in and day out. They show us their ability to code switch, translate, speak one language to one parent and turn around and within seconds speak a different language to the other!
So next time we the adults get worked up and let those silly misconceptions creep up, I suggest we follow the lead of our lovable bilingual children!
This post was written for the Valentine’s Day and February edition of the Raising Multilingual Children blogging carnival organized by Annabelle from The PiriPiri Lexicon, this month hosted by Adam from Bilingual Monkeys.
You can see the carnival in its entirety here!