Trilingual: Are you wondering if your children are capable of learning more than two languages at the same time? What would that even look like you might wonder? In this interview, a young mom describes her families trilingual journey while moving around the world. Learn strategies that will work for your family as well.
Interview with Alexandra to learn more about her families trilingual journey:
When I created the foreign mom blog I made it my mission to empower other parents. You are not alone in your bilingual/trilingual journey!! Sharing real-life stories from other parents, who are successfully raising their children bilingual or multilingual, it is suppose to help you and to teach you strategies that you can adapt to your family.
1. You have been all around the world, but you are currently living in Italy. Could you give us a quick overview of all the places you lived at and why?
I can probably say we moved around to complete our education.
I grew up in Moscow, Russia and after I graduated from University I realized that my education (I am an artist) is very classic. So, I decided I was up for a new challenge and I needed to try something different. The world of contemporary art was a very attractive mystery to me. So, I went to Central Saint Martins in London. London opened a completely new world to me and therefore I decided to stay.
After 9 years, my husband (who was looking into switching his career in a different direction) got an Apple scholarship to study at the Apple Development Academy. The Academy is in Naples so we moved there for a year. Shortly after, we realized we loved Italy.
Our next destination was Milan. My husband found a very interesting program there and I followed him. My job as a freelancer allowed me to work from everywhere. However, things changed, I now work at school full-time, which wasn’t the original plan. But this city is being incredibly welcoming to my family. We have live here since the summer of 2018.
2. I understand you can speak three languages and you are raising your son trilingual. What does that look like at home and in school for your son?
We speak Russian at home, but most of my friends are English-speakers. So, my son is exposed to the English language when we meet with
Since my son was born in London we have plenty of books in English. When we read to our son we always use the language of the book and we talk about it. Also, we watch cartoons and movies (which is super rear but happens) always in the original language (this brings American English in the house 😂) but if i’m serious it helps. We have books in Russian and talk about the stories in Russian. Same with English and Italian. Books or movies/cartoons of other origins arrive in the language that requires most support at that very moment of our life.
In addition, my son goes to a nursery in Milan. So, his Italian has become his majority language within a few months of being here.
Also, my Italian is very basic. But since I am only here just above one year this will also be changing soon.
3. What do you find the most difficult about raising a multilingual child? What is working well and what could be improved?
Personally, one of the difficult
So, I had to get really creative to find ways of reducing his stress.
The most difficult part when it comes to learning the languages is to find friends for your kid to play with. Specifically, kids who are using the minority language. Kids learn the majority language quickly and start to prefer it over the minority language. For instance, I see how my son speaks to my friend’s daughter (who speaks Russian and Italian) in Italian. It’s easier! They both understand! And we are in Italy! So why not? It only seems
4. Do you have any support inside or outside the family to help with raising your son trilingual?
Not as much as I would like to see. I mainly get moral support. However, my extended family helps to keep my son’s Russian alive just by communicating with him on a regular basis.
Furthermore, at his
5. What are your favorite resources for multilingual parents and their children?
We love reading books!! Also, I am signed up to a few local mom groups and they often share interesting articles. However, I’m not signed up for a particular Facebook group yet.
However, I read a few interesting articles on mothertonguenotes.com, there are links to podcasts on the subject as well. But I often struggle to find the time to listen to them. But it’s on my to-do-list.
6. If you could give parents who are raising bilingual/multilingual children one piece of advice what would that be?
Don’t underestimate the importance of friends/peers speaking the language that needs extra support. Friends speaking a particular language skyrocket interest in those languages. I noticed this quite often while working at a bilingual school. I strongly believe the older the kids are the more help they can provide to others.
I absolutely agree with Alexandra that people believe that raising a multilingual child is easy. Actually, it’s a lot of hard work and it takes some dedication from both parents. Having a strong support system is important!
Please let us know what languages you are teaching to your kids and how it is going? 🙂
Don’t forget to check out my bilingual activities. Learning another language can be fun after all. I also put together a blog post with strategies that work well for my family (German/English speakers).