Frequently asked questions about raising children in bilingual homes:

Am I hurting my child by exposing him to two languages?

You are giving your child the opportunity to learn two languages. In the long run, being bilingual is a valuable asset. In the short run, learning two languages takes a little longer than learning one.

Should we use only English at home to help my child learn English?

You should interact with your child in the language or languages that are most comfortable for you. Children need to experience lots of natural, meaningful conversation to learn language. If you are more comfortable in Spanish, you are probably doing a better job of helping your child learn Spanish. You can help your child learn English by finding English-language activities such as library story hours or sports activities where he will interact with native English speakers.

What can I do so that my child doesn't lose his Spanish.

It can be difficult to maintain Spanish as children get older. Try to provide your child opportunities for natural, meaningful conversations in Spanish-language settings. Interactions with Spanish speakers who do not speak English will make using Spanish more natural and meaningful.  

How can I find out how my child's English compares to what the schools expect?

Most schools in Florida administer tests of English language knowledge and of reading skill, and many report these scores to parents. Ask your child's teacher or school what tests your child is given and what reports are available.

The National Institutes of Health has made videos answering some of your most frequently asked questions.






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