bilingual children

Raising bilingual children when you live overseas as an expat

If you are moving overseas then you probably will be enrolling your children in a local school. If this school isn’t an English-based school, it won’t be long before your child is speaking two languages as it’s amazing how quickly a young brain can adapt. But how do you go about raising a bilingual child and further encouraging this development?

Keep their English developing

It can be tempting to want to encourage the new language your child is learning – and yes, this is something you must do. But you also don’t want them to lose their grasp of English, as this will set them up for the future.

You and your partner must continue to speak the child’s native language rather than swapping between the two languages if you want them to stay consistent in English.

This way they will know they speak English at home and the secondary language when they are out and about.

Encourage multi-language development

When your child is joining in activities with other children, whether at your home or their house, encourage them to be creative with the new language they are learning. For example, you could play dress us, dance to local songs or play games like ‘I spy’. All of this will further encourage language development. And if you are also learning the new language, it can be great for you too!

Enrol in extracurricular activities

Get your child actively involved in learning their new language outside of school hours. Look for playgroups, programs and swim or dance classes where the class is taught in the local language. This will encourage them not only to keep learning the new language but also get them interested in the local culture and customs. Why not venture out to the library and borrow books, CDs and DVDs in the local language? All of these activities will assist in further language development.

Moving to a new country can be daunting, especially when learning a new language is involved. However, by encouraging your child to keep up their first language while learning the new language, you will have a bilingual child in no time at all.

Need help navigating a move to a new country? Although we can’t help with the local language, we can assist you with your Australian taxes and your Australian tax returns – contact us today for more information.

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Shane Macfarlane

CEO & Founder at Expat Tax Services
Shane's an Australian Chartered Accountant and Australian expat tax specialist who's also an expat himself (based in Asia). Shane's passionate about tax and legitimate tax minimisation, tax-planning and structuring, particularly as it relates to Australian expats who are often subject to high rates of tax back home in Australia.
Shane Macfarlane
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