Traditions and the bilingual family

In this month’s Raising Multilingual Children blogging carnival, Marianna of Bilingual Avenue asks about how we have gone about building our tribe. I found the question to be a very interesting one, especially as I’ve never felt I’ve made any special efforts to do so and yet the efforts are there! First and foremost, my motivations in raising a bilingual family are very family-oriented! I want my children to be able to communicate with their family abroad and to also have a connection with their rich heritage. The number one tribe I’ve thus sought to create is within our own family! But these efforts have seemed as effortless as they have been rewarding! We strive to build our bilingual tribe by creating rich traditions within our own family where we have ample opportunities to communicate and enjoy each others’ company. And we try to plan for trips abroad to visit extended family at least every two years. Yes, this requires a bit more effort, I admit! But the scrimping and the saving that takes place in the year before we leave pales in comparison to the joy we feel once we are there! And finally, as I’ve sought to speak with my children in the target language wherever we are, this has created some unexpected but very rewarding friendships! I can’t count the number of times we’ve been at the grocery store or at a school event or at the farm or at church and that someone has approached us because we were speaking a foreign language and one that we had in common! Wonderful friendships have resulted from these surprise encounters and have naturally helped build our tribe. So without further ado, I share with you this article that I wrote last year about how traditions help to build the family tribe! Enjoy!

Bilingual families need traditions to help them achieve their goals! Traditions can be as simple as picking strawberries every spring. Senses are stimulated, vocabulary and expression improved. And we all know that children learn better when they are busy having fun! Here in France, we’ve created the family tradition of going to the farm every year to pick everything from strawberries and raspberries to tomatoes and radishes and even apples in the fall! We love it!

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

So why is it important to create family traditions when raising a bilingual family? Here is just a handful of reasons…

  1. To properly learn a language, children must spend a significant amount of time immersed in that language. Spending time together as a family gives you plenty of that time you need to expose your children to the language.
  2. A living language is meant to be lived! The more you speak the desired language in a variety of contexts, the greater the chances your child will learn to live in that language! Including all the expressions and specific vocabulary required for the task at hand.
  3. Language is very tied to emotions. When you create healthy family traditions, you create lots of opportunities for building happy memories. You strengthen family bonds and you also strengthen your child’s tie to the language in question.
  4. Children learn in many different ways. The larger the span of activities and traditions you create, the more likely it is that you’ll reach your child. If you know your child is a hands-on learner, then create lots of hands-on family traditions!
  5. Traditions give children a sense of identity, especially when they are cultural. And since language and culture are intricately related, traditions help children better understand both.
  6. Traditions give children something to look forward to and rely on. They help create a sense of security within a family. And a child who feels safe and secure is a child ready to learn.
  7. And finally. It’s just plain fun!

Are you a bilingual family? Have you created traditions that help you achieve your bilingual goals?

*To read more about traditions and the bilingual family, see the related articles by members of the Multicultural Kid Blogs at the bottom of this post.

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

Traditions and the bilingual family | Trilingual Mama

This is some really good stuff here! If you like learning about traditions and the bilingual family, I’m sure you’ll love these articles! Enjoy!

6 Responses

  1. As a bilingual but tri-cultural family (French, British, Australian) we make sure to celebrate things from each culture. We make crêpes at Chandeleur and pancakes on Pancake Day. We make lamingtons and pavlova for Australia Day. We go carol singing at Christmas (anglo side) and to St Nicolas parades in early Dec (France) etc. I could go on, but suffice it to say we get many more things to celebrate and enjoy by embracing our 3 cultures (including 3 Mothers Days for me!!!) (Ha ha only kidding…sort of!) My husband and I met in Vietnam so we often throw in a bit of Vietnamese culture too such as always making sure we have a great Vietnamese feast at Lunar New Year (Tet) and explaining to the kids what it’s all about. Traditions are definitely important.

    • Maria says:

      Wow! How do you keep up with all of that celebrating?! I try to do this too with our many cultures, but sometimes it’s overwhelming!! We try to pick and choose our favorites and some years we celebrate and some years we don’t. But I agree with you that keeping culture alive for children is such a huge and valuable part of raising bilingual children!

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