Bilingualism means being able to communicate in more than one language. Children can learn to use 2 or more languages from birth or might learn one language (their home language) first before starting to learn another one.

  • Bilingualism is an advantage and doesn’t cause communication difficulties or make them worse.
  • Home languages should be valued and celebrated!
  • Language is not just a tool for learning. Home language skills are important for children’s wellbeing and relationships
  • Learning a home language helps children learn other languages (like English)

Parents talking about Bilingualism

You can read and hear about other parents’ experiences of raising their children to be bilingual in the following resources produced by the BBC’s Tiny Happy People





Learning 2 languages at home

Polish mother and English father sharing their experiences of speaking their first languages and child learning two languages at home.

Learning language through play. Maintaining your first language

Learning through play. Speaking first language at home (Bengali)

Maintaining your first language

Learning home language through play and making it fun. Benefits of learning two languages (Punjabi)

Article about myth busting and bilingualism

Information and advice on learning two languages

What if my child is already struggling to communicate?

If your child is struggling learning to use your home language, you may think it will be easier to speak the language that is mainly spoken in the country that you are living in, e.g. English if you live in the UK. However

  • children learn to communicate best when adults speak to them using the language/s that come most naturally to them
  • speaking only English with your child may lead to them having difficulty joining in with family conversations and building relationships e.g. with grandparents
  • sticking to English doesn’t make learning to communicate any easier than if children are hearing and using more than one language
  • children who hear two languages are not slower to learn to talk. The typical rate of early language development among bilingual children is the same as the typical rate among children who only speak one language.

Links to further information

Babble to bilingual - advice on speaking multiple languages


Choo, A I & Smith, S A (2020) Bilingual children who stutter. Convergence, gaps and directions for research. Journal of fluency disorders 63, 1 -22.


The Hanan Centre


Mc Donald, D and Meredith, L (2020) The right advice at the right time: The role of health visiting teams in children’s communication. Journal of Health Visiting, 8, (11) 466-470



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