on raising bilingual children

Helping you navigate your unique family language journey while raising a child with more than one language.

We at Raising Bilingual Children are passionate about languages and multilingualism, drawing our expertise from scientific research and day-to-day-practice alike. As Family Language Advisers, we help you navigate multilingual child-rearing in your unique family situation.

Dr. Eowyn Crisfield, founder and lead adviser, is a qualified language teacher (BEd Teaching English as a second language) and Applied Linguist (MA and PhD Applied Linguistics), with specialisations in child bilingualism and education. She is also the (co) author of two books and a Senior Lecturer in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University.

What is a Family Language Adviser?

A Family Language Adviser is a person who guides and supports parents, caregivers and others involved in a family’s linguistic environment in creating a setting that will foster a child’s successful multilingual development. This consultation process is called Family Language Planning.

What can a Family Language Adviser help with?

Some of the questions that could be addressed and resolved include:

  • Why does my child refuse to speak my home language?
  • Will my child eventually stop using my home language?
  • How many languages is too many? Won’t my child get confused?
  • We are trying to choose a school – which language of instruction would be best for my child?
  • We are moving – how do we navigate the new language(s)? Should we leave some behind?
  • We are both monolingual and would like our child to be bilingual – is that possible?
  • Do I have to pick one language to speak to my child and stick with it 100% of the time?
  • Do I have to speak my first language to my child? What other possibilities do I have?

What happens in a Family Language Planning consultation session?

Setting priorities and strategically planning for them is fundamental for successful language learning and development. Through detailed questions and discussions, the Family Language Adviser assesses the family’s linguistic environment and the parents’ goals for their children’s linguistic development. Aims are examined and analysed in light of current input, and realistic future input, in each language.

What is a Family Language Plan?

A Family Language Plan is a guiding document that the adviser develops, together with the parents, to set the family’s goals and plan for their children’s multilingual development. Creating a Family Language Plan also involves mapping out where the input in each language will come from, ways that literacy will be approached, and school choice.

As specialised Family Language Advisers, we are here to discuss your concerns and craft tailored solutions regardless of your family’s language combination.