Tips: Raising Bilingual Kids - Indonesian English Parenting

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 Unknown 0 Comments

I got the idea to write this from a mother who I know from KEB (Kumpulan Emak2 Blogger), an online women community in Indonesia. Not sure what her problem was but she seemed worry about introducing second language to her children. 

Her question was: "Should I delay my kids to learn English and focus more in Bahasa?"

I see that just not her who got worry for raising kids in more than one language, many Indonesian parents believe that introducing language in early age could delay the ability to develop their speaking. Well, if this is true then we have millions kids with oral problem. 

Let The Kids Have Fun With The Language

Raising bilingual kids is not myth. I have my own experience in raising my kid with different languages and cultures. He's now 13 years old and speak more than two languages, apart from Bahasa, he speaks English, Javanese and Arabic almost fluently. How does he do it?

Children have nature ability to pick up 'things' quickly from their surrounding. I was so amazed by how my son learn different languages so quickly: He was just listening the natives. 

I don't control my kid about what language he wants to speak. When he first learnt Javanese he was totally quite - did not speak at all or responding the natives, but after two weeks he spoke exactly like natives, this was when he was 10 yo. 

One my favorite moment when he spoke two languages was when he 4 years old. He was brought to doctor who speak English. The doctor tried to make him comfortable by asking him to sing. He sang an English song, after finished the song the doctor asked my boy to sing a Bahasa song as well: he did it.

I believe kids not just have flexibility in their physical but also their brain is effortlessly learning a language. Sure that when one or two years old they don't speak quicker as the other toddlers that speak just one language but does not mean their oral ability undeveloped. 

We might have heard that learning a language is now have other purposes other than about science? Yes, it's also learning humanity. In some point of views it does make sense. 

Every language has different expression in their sentences, and that links to its culture as well. When your child said: "No, thank you", they just not learn English but also etiquette, so the opposite when they said: "Gak mau" (rarely in Bahasa said 'Gak mau' followed by 'Terimakasih') however, this acceptable in the culture. 

Finally, I assume we, parents, don't have a choice not to teach our kids English. It's kind of life demands and for the sake of their future. Start it in early won't be a bad idea as it helps them to be more fluent in English. 

jkt, 16.21-190313


Nice saying shows your character but that doesn't mean you can criticize. You can still do both in nice and polite way.

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