Why should I contact you?
You cannot find support and information tailored to your particular family and language combination online or in a book because every situation is unique.
I will answer your questions about your unique situation and give you the strategies and information you need to increase your chances of raising a bilingual child, be it by passing on your heritage language to your children and making sure they are proficient in English (or your community's language) at the same time or by giving you tips and tricks to support your child in French immersion, etc.
A personalized consultation is like a directed conversation in which you voice your concerns and I give you food for thought, tips and ideas that could work for your family. By talking about your questions and family situation and having me ask directed questions or give concrete suggestions, you attain a clear understanding of where to go next and which concrete steps to take to support your children in your family's bilingual journey.
Doesn't bilingualism just happen "naturally" in a bilingual family?
MYTH: My child will become bilingual without much effort on my part.
FACT: Many children from multilingual families do not grow up to be bilingual (even if their parents speak another language to them at home). Raising children with more than one language typically requires thoughtful planning and conscious effort on the part of the parents.
Increase your chances of success in raising your children with more than one language by learning more about the issues you will face given your particular situation and how to deal with them.
While multilingual parents often have the best intentions and hopes for raising bilingual children, the odds are often stacked against them. For example, many children from multilingual families in the Lower Mainland become monolingual English speakers (even if their parents speak another language to them at home).
For instance, many children switch to speaking English at an early age and often miss out on learning the parents' home language because the families are not aware of how to deal with typical issues that arise along the way.
While your "success" in raising multilingual children is considerably influenced by where you are and which languages are involved, no matter what the situation, the more you know about the topic, the greater your chance of raising children that are proficient in more than one language. I provide you with the background information and hands-on strategies for dealing with typical issues that you will be faced with along your family's multilingual journey.
When is a good time to contact you?
The best time to contact me is when you are expecting your first child or have very young children. That way, you have everything in place from the get go. Aside from that, it is never too early or too late to learn more about how children learn more than one language.
What kinds of questions and concerns do you address in your workshops, consultations and presentations?
The workshops, consultations and presentations cover a wide variety of topics and always address the particular questions and concerns of a given audience. Here are some examples of questions and concerns that parents and professionals have brought forward:
- How can my child become fluent in both English and my native language?
- Which language should I speak to my child?
- My child only responds to me in English. It's so frustrating. What should I do?
- How many languages are too many languages?
- At what age do children know they are exposed to more than one language?
- At what age can children differentiate their two languages?
- Does bilingualism cause language delay?
- My child mixes the two languages. Is this a problem?
- When should my child start to learn English?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of being bilingual?
- My child is reluctant to speak my language. How can I get him/her to speak it with me?
- My partner doesn't speak my language well. Should I ask him/her to stop speaking it to our children?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of French immersion?
- My child is autistic. Should I switch to English?
- My child has a language disorder. Is bilingualism going to be too much?
- I want my children to be successful at school. What language should I speak to them?
- What about three or more languages?
When is your next workshop?
Please email me to find out. You can also request a workshop or presentation in your area on a variety of topics surrounding child multilingualism for you and your friends or colleagues.
Do you do consulting for families that want to raise their children with three or more languages?
Yes. I am personally juggling four languages in my own family. While the principles and strategies are similar to those for bilingualism, there is generally more planning and effort required on the part of the parents / caregivers to instill trilingualism or multilingualism in their children. My consulting is tailored to your specific situation, including the number of languages you are considering for your children.
Does your consulting cover all languages or just the ones you speak?
I can assist you with any language or language combination. The principles of bilingualism and multilingualism hold for all languages and the strategies will be tailored to your specific situation.
We are not a bilingual family... Or are we?
You are a bilingual family if:
- you are monolingual speakers of English but your children go to French immersion
- you or your partner grew up with another language than the one you are currently speaking within the family
- you are monolingual English speakers but your nanny speaks another language to your children
- you speak two or more languages in your family
- grandma and grandpa speak another language
My child is 6 years old and we haven't started speaking our home language to her yet. Can we still contact you?
I work with expecting parents, parents of newborn babies and parents of older children. We can discuss language strategies suitable to your situation and needs.
We don't speak another language. Can we still raise a bilingual child?
The second language does not have to come from the home, it can also come from the community you live in, a nanny, daycare, or school (e.g., French immersion), for example.
Our child is already bilingual. Should we consider French Immersion or is that going to be too much?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. For some bilingual children, adding French to the mix would be perfectly fine, for others, adding French might endanger the continued learning of one of the other two languages. What is right for your family depends on your particular situation, which languages are involved in your child's bilingualism, how much support there is for these languages in your area, how proficient the child is in his or her two languages, how many opportunities the child will have to use his or her languages, etc.
Anne Rimrott, Ph.D.
Consultant for multilingual families
Vancouver, B.C., Canada