How to Raise a Trilingual Kid?!

Many parents search for a specific answer or a magic formula that will help them answer the question: How to raise a trilingual or multilingual child? 

Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done on this topic. You may manage to find some books and articles that talk about how to raise a bilingual child though. From my own experience as a mother of a preschool daughter, who has been exposed to three languages( Arabic, Turkish, and English) since she was born, I managed to come to some conclusions and strategies that parents might find helpful and resourceful. You might sometimes doubt that this is even possible. Yes, it is possible, but it will require a lot of hard work, commitment, and patience. 

First, from day one, each parent has to speak to their little peanut in their mother tongue language. Parents may have the notion that this could confuse their children. I am here to assure you that this will not happen because children are a lot smarter than we think. Babies' brains work differently to acquire these languages. Besides, some research has proven that children who grow up learning more than one language are smarter. However, Trilingual children's language development can be slower than those who are monolingual. In my case, my daughter started to speak Arabic phrases and sentences when she reached her third birthday.    

Second, from the very beginning, it is highly recommended that parents collect some materials that will aid increase their children's exposure to the target languages. As a parent, you should read, sing, play, and do fun activities using these languages. Such resources can be books, cards, songs ……etc.

Third, plan your activities with your child, and do not forget to give some space for free play too. Remember one parent, one language. However if one of the parents is speaking two languages, then it is advised to create a schedule when to speak these languages. 

Fourth, seek help from parents who already went through this experience. I personally reached some families who brought up their children to be trilingual. I found it very useful and also encouraged me to continue. Honestly, I had this urge to stop and just use English several times, because it is just easy to communicate with. If you know someone, that is a plus. Libraries, playgrounds, and schools are good places to find bilingual and multilingual parents.

In short, there is no right or wrong strategy when it comes to raising a trilingual or multilingual child. Trust your guts and keep doing what you are doing. Yet,  the above strategies are directly based on my own experience raising a trilingual child.  

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