Marissa - Bilingual Parent Q&A

Marissa - Bilingual Parent Q&A

Marissa - Bilingual Parent Q&A

Our second family featured in this summer’s blog series is the Cheng family, who are raising their children to be multilingual in English, French and Mandarin. They share about the why behind their multilingual journey and how they plan to navigate their children’s eventual transition to school. Keep reading to learn more about the ways they keep language learning simple.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Marissa C.: I’m bilingual in Mandarin and English, was born in China and came to the US at 13, studied French in HS but very rusty in it.

Why is raising a bilingual child important to you? 

Marissa C.: It helps the child to learn more about the world from different perspectives and may bring them opportunities in the future. It’s much easier to learn new languages as a kid vs starting when you are older.

Which languages are you helping your child(ren) learn?

Marissa C.: Mandarin and French, English is the community language and dad speaks English to the kids.

Are you using any particular approach to teaching your child(ren) multiple languages? (i.e., one parent-one language (OPOL), only speaking in that language at home, etc.)

Marissa C.: OPOL and certain activities like screen time in minority language

When did you start your bilingual journey with your child(ren)?

Marissa C.: Since birth

How do you weave bilingual learning into your everyday routine?

Marissa C.: Talk to her in Mandarin, get Mandarin books from online sources.

How do you keep bilingual learning playful?

Marissa C.: Do fun activities in target language and play songs in minority language. Ex: I only play French songs in the car.

How do you plan to maintain this language learning when your child starts school? OR How did you maintain this language learning when your child started school?

Marissa C.: Visit China for extended trips 1x/year, maybe in person/online classes. School district has immersion program for French.

What is a misconception you think people have about teaching children more than one language?

Marissa C.: It’s too hard.