Navigating Bilingual Parenting

Do you know couples who speak different languages? As the world becomes increasingly globalised, many families find themselves in situations where parents speak different languages. This can create unique challenges when it comes to raising children and communicating effectively as a family. Yes, challenges - absolutely worthwhile challenges!

In this blog, we share some tips so that you and your partner can have many positive experiences and gain valuable insights in bilingual parenting. Your child will benefit from the advantages of growing up bilingual and, most importantly, find joy in being able to communicate in two languages.

Recognising the value of bilingualism

Raising a bilingual child is an incredibly valuable and enriching task. As parents with different native languages, you have the opportunity to give your child a unique gift on their life journey: linguistic diversity. Language also transmits culture to the child. Family languages are often a source of pride and identity.

Studies have shown that bilingualism offers numerous cognitive and academic benefits, including improved problem-solving skills, enhanced creativity, and greater cultural awareness.

Coordination and consistency are needed

However, raising a bilingual child is not a walk in the park and requires coordination and effort between parents. Taking the example of a Swiss German-speaking mother and an English-speaking father, you need to find ways to ensure that both languages are consistently promoted and practiced.

We recommend that you speak to your child in your native language. In our example, this means that the mum will speak Swiss German and the dad will speak English with the child. This will help the child develop a clear understanding of each language and avoid confusion. 

Expose your child to both languages

It is also important to expose your child to both languages as much as possible. In our example, the mother will sing songs in Swiss German, and the father will sing in English. The parents will also read different books to the child - again, in their native languages. Later, when the children can read on their own, it is important to encourage them to read books in both languages. The same applies to audiobooks and podcasts. And when planning a movie night, choose a film in one of the two languages.

Outside of the immediate family, it is important for your child to have the opportunity to hear, speak, and experience the languages of both parents. Ideally, your child should have the chance to interact with other children in these two languages in a class, playgroup, or daycare. The more exposure your child has to each language, the more confident and competent they will become.

Handling mistakes and language mixing

Do not worry if your child makes mistakes or mixes the languages. This is a natural part of the learning process, especially in the early stages. Repeat words or sentences correctly without disrupting the flow of the conversation.

As mentioned above, assigning a specific language to each person is important. Be consistent and speak to your child in your native language. And if it feels like your child is switching between languages seemingly arbitrarily, this is not a cause for concern but a natural process of language acquisition. Our blog on «code-switching»- when children mix languages - offers background information on the acquisition of different languages.

A long-term process with benefits

Remember: raising a bilingual child is a long-term process. Stay calm! You and your child should have fun with the languages; it should be enriching and not an obligation. Your child should feel proud and confident to grow up bilingual.

Of course, it takes patience, time, and dedication to develop language skills in two languages, and there will be ups and downs along the way. But it is worth it! Your child will develop strong language skills in both languages, which will bring numerous benefits to their personal and professional life.


Raising a bilingual child in a household where parents speak different languages can be challenging but, above all, it is a valuable and rewarding experience. It is a journey that requires patience and commitment. By setting clear language boundaries, exposing your child to both languages, being consistent in language use, and remaining flexible and understanding, you can help your child develop strong language skills.

In short, with patience, time, and dedication, your child can master both languages and benefit from the numerous advantages of bilingualism throughout their life.


Read our Blog about «Multilingualism»


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