The bilingual journey is a long and bumpy road; and at the end of a long working day or week we can feel so exhausted and lose the motivation to make efforts in exposing our child to our minority language (ml). But as a bilingual mum recently commented on this blog, routines can be of great help to overcome these situations.
Establishing firm routines in our daily life can be a real life saviour, as they enable to sail through ml education without having to think it through every minute of every day (and especially not after a long day at work). You just do it without much thinking. It might be hard work at inception to think them out and set them up. Nevertheless, once they are up and running, routines can be so comfortable to run without further planning required.
Routines are generally seen in a negative light. Notwithstanding, you might grow to like them in the light of all they advantages in the context of bilingual education:
- It is a drill – and it is precisely through drills that children are taught at nursery and primary schools.
- You can do them out of habit even when you are tired.
- They can become an integral part of the classic routines such as toothbrushing or shower rituals.
- It integrates the ml to the daily life, making it feel “normal” to the child.
- The latter can help wear down a child’s resistance to the language.
Now, you might wonder how much routine can fit in a day, and the answer is A LOT! To give you some ideas, here is a list of what we do at home:
- The bedtime story – the classic one!
- Singing nursery rhymes, counting , saying the alphabet song, a weekdays/months song on the way to school.
- Counting the toothbrushing time through singing.
- Doing a quick Dolch sight-words quiz over breakfast.
- Reading poetry over breakfast or as your children get dressed.
- Reading to your children over dinner if they happen to eat before the parents.
- Always putting the ml radio over breakfast and the ml telly in the evening so as to create an ml audio background.
- Weekly family boardgames or movie night.
- Have your child read to you a short story every evening.
- Have a regular ml homework session with your children.
- Leaving daily messages to your child on a whiteboard.
Do you have any suggestions of routines? Please share them in the Comment section.