In raising a multi-lingual child in Singapore or anywhere else, you must have to introduce the language first and apply it into your everyday conversation.
My two older children can speak in German, Russian, Chinese and English fluently, with a smattering of Russian and Malay. They speak to their maternal grandparents in Hokkien and Chinese.
We split the work amongst the two parents – my husband is Singaporean Chinese and hence only speaks to them in Chinese, Malay and English. I speak to them only in German and English. We tend to use mostly our native languages when speaking to them one on one, and English when we talk as a family. They are able to switch comfortably.
wow this is soo cool! Have you started to do this way right from the birth? I heard that sometimes bilingual trilingual child can start to talk later because of listening few languages. How is your experience?
We’ve started talking to our babies daily even from the womb; they seem to pick up languages easily. Most Singaporean children are bi-lingual/tri-lingual and they fare as well as their counterparts globally in terms of age when they start speaking.
We also speak a lot to them everyday like they are adults, from the day they were born. We don’t really use baby talk much. Kids are like little sponges when they are really young, hence each parent speaks one main language from birth. They sometimes try to speak or reply to you in another “preferred” language, but you just have to consistently reply them in your main language instead of switching to their preference 😉