Communicating Important Information with ELL Families: Strategies for Success (2024)

Guide for Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders

Communicating Important Information with ELL Families: Strategies for Success (1)

How can schools effectively communicate with ELL families? What can schools do to make the enrollment process more welcoming and manageable for families? These strategies appear in Engaging ELL Families: Twenty Strategies for School Leaders.

It is critical for schools to understand the rights that English language learners (ELLs), immigrant students, and their families have regarding access to schooling and information in their home languages. Learn more about those rights below, as well as some best practices for not only meeting those obligations but building positive partnerships with ELL families in support of their children.

Supporting immigrant families

For related ideas, see the following:

  • Ten Strategies for Supporting Immigrant Students and Families
  • How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs

6. Find ways to communicate with ELL parents

Note: ELL families are legally entitled to information about their child's schooling (including enrollment, parent-conference meetings, and any services the school provides, such as ESL or special education) in a language they understand. See more about those rights in the following:

  • Fact Sheet: Information for Limited English Proficient Parents and for Schools and School Districts that Communicate with Them (U.S. Department of Education)

Download PDF versions:

  • This article >
  • Full guide >

A. What you need to know

One of the greatest challenges for schools and ELL parents is communicating with each other. While educators may feel frustrated that they can't get their message across to parents, parents may be just as frustrated that they can't communicate easily with the school and their child's teacher. Like your other parents, however, ELL parents want to know what's happening with their child. Two important pieces of this puzzle include:

  • A reliable translation process: In Supporting English Language Learners: A Guide for Teachers and Administrators, Farin A. Houk underscores the importance of establishing two-way communication on both sides, as well as the necessity for a translation process that is "formal, steady, and reliable" (64). What does not work, she says, is sending notes home in English, talking slower or louder, using students to translate, or asking a friend or relative to translate confidential or detailed information. She also underscores the importance of having options for families with limited literacy skills (65-66).
  • Phone calls: Offer staff training on communicating in simplified English on the phone. Monolingual staff may be reluctant to call the homes of bilingual students because "they won't be able to understand anyway." As a result, the bilingual staff members are frequently called upon to stop what they are doing to translate. With some guidance, however, teachers can learn how to communicate basic information through a simplified conversation or message.

B. Reflection

How would you describe the communication at your school with ELL parents? Have you had some success stories? Have you explored all of your available options? Are you familiar with applicable local, state, and federal regulations regarding translations and parent access to information?

C. Strategies

In order to improve school-home communication, Houk suggests:

  • Hiring, when possible, staff that matches the linguistic needs of your population
  • Developing an ongoing relationship with community organizations
  • Scheduling home-school communication time into the school day for e-mails or phone calls
  • Using parent phone trees (65-66).

In addition:

  • Find out what the applicable regulations are that relate to parent communication.
  • Find out what translation and interpreting resources are available in your district.
  • Use school staff to help interpret on a rotating or scheduled basis so that the same individuals aren't frequently pulled away from other duties.
  • Ask parents how they prefer to receive communication (phone, e-mail, text message, etc.).
  • Ask parents which language they prefer - it may be English.
  • Inform parents that they can bring an interpreter to the school or that one can be provided.
  • Avoid using translation websites, which are imprecise and often inaccurate.

Notes: You may have parents with strong bilingual skills that can assist in translating school forms or interpreting. If you do plan on using these parents, however, offer training, provide a list of translated terms, give them enough time to complete the translation, and have other native speakers review written translations (Rodriguez, 48). This is critical because school terms can be complicated and easily misrepresented, especially when translated into varying dialects of the same language.

D. Examples

  • One educator shares the creative way she used an automated voice message: "Over the entire Christmas holidays, parents heard my recorded voice remind them of the financial aid workshops. That proved very helpful...They just need those reminders. They want our students to go to college, but sometimes that fear about the ability to pay is overwhelming" (Alford and Niño, 88).
  • The Bilingual PreK-3 Teacher Education Program, a federally-funded grant administered through Pacific Oaks College Northwest, was created to increase the number of certified educators from ELL/minority communities teaching in the public schools. One way they accomplish this mission is by helping talented early bilingual childhood educators in the local preschool programs fulfill the necessary requirements to become certified (Houk, 33-34).

Related resources

  • Create different channels for communication in families' languages

7. Make the enrollment process manageable for ELL parents

Note: All students have the right to a free, public K-12 education, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents. This includes access to services and programs such as free- and reduced-priced meals, English-language development classes, special education, and school activities.

Schools are not permitted to (a) ask about immigration status for purposes of enrollment or (b) ask any questions that would dissuade immigrant students or families from enrolling or have any kind of chilling effect.

See our related guide on supporting immigrant students for more information on:

  • legal rights of ELL/immigrant students
  • legal guidelines regarding enrollment and document requests

A. What you need to know

School enrollment is a complicated process for any family. There are forms to be filled out, decisions to be made, policies to be read, programs to learn about, and questions to be answered. For ELL families, a number of other obstacles can arise:

  • There is no interpreter available.
  • Parents are unaware of services (such as free- and reduced-lunch) for which they qualify.
  • They don't understand how bussing works.
  • They are confused about their rights and their children's rights.
  • They are reluctant to show any form of identification.

In addition, your ELL families may be coming from:

  • A school system very different from the U.S. system
  • A situation with a lot of mobility (as in the case of migrant students)
  • A situation without any schooling at all (such as a refugee camp).

Yet regardless of how it's done, ELL parents must have access to the same information as non-ELL parents. Sending information home in English will not ensure that it is read and understood. Getting this information doesn't just help the school operate more smoothly - it can make a critical difference in keeping children healthy and safe.

Whether through translated forms or an interpreter, ELL parents need to know about the basics, such as:

  • Enrollment procedures
  • The school schedule
  • Their child's schedule
  • Attendance policies and procedures for absences
  • Bussing and transportation
  • How breakfast and lunch work (such as lunch accounts, codes, or policies)
  • Free- and reduced-lunch options
  • Holidays and school closures
  • Weather delays
  • Procedures for alerting the school to their child's medical conditions, medication, and allergies.

ELL also parents need information about their child's academic program, such as:

  • Their child's classes and who their child's teachers are
  • The school grading system and report cards
  • Assessments (classroom and standardized)
  • Parent conferences
  • Information about the English-language program and placement procedures (121)
  • Special services, such as gifted programs or special education as needed
  • Homework help and resources
  • The school library
  • Clubs, sports, and extra-curricular activities.

Finally, Debbie Zacarian underscores the importance of sharing information about the following in her book, Transforming Schools for English Language Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School Leaders:

  • Student and parent rights
  • Emergency contact cards and procedures
  • The student handbook and code of conduct (121).

Additional topics are included in the article Helping ELL Newcomers: Things Your Students Need to Know, an excerpt from The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook: ESL for Every Classroom Teacher (3rd edition) by Barbara Law and Mary Eckes.

B. Reflection

Think through your enrollment process step by step. How does it work for ELL families? Do parents get all of the information they need? What might be some possible obstacles to that process? Which steps do you think need improvement?

C. Strategies

There are a number of ways to approach the enrollment process for ELL families, including:

  • Bilingual staff: When possible, hire bilingual staff to work in the main office.
  • Translated forms: Many of the more general forms are available in other languages from the state education sites, and there may already be some translations available through your district.
  • Enrollment night: Schedule an "enrollment night" in which families can learn about the enrollment process and school policies with interpreters on hand.
  • School liaisons: Assign each family a school contact who speaks their language and guides them through the enrollment process (Houk, 66).
  • Welcome centers: Having a centralized ELL welcome/intake center managed by bilingual staff may help streamline enrollment and placement procedures.
  • Welcome kits: Put together a "welcome kit" that includes key information, basic school supplies, and educational activities for your ELL families.
  • Technology: Consider offering translations of your forms online, such as these from Los Angeles Unified School District, or an automated enrollment form in multiple languages.

D. Example

  • In the article Lessons Learned from Immigrant Families, Young-Chan Han of the Maryland Department of Education shares the story of a young boy from El Salvador who waited outside the locked school on a cold January morning for an hour until the janitor let him in. It was his first day, and it happened to be the morning of a snow delay.

Video: A warm welcome for immigrant families in the front office

8. Make the enrollment process accessible all year long

A. What you need to know

Keep in mind that your school must be ready to enroll ELLs throughout the school year. Many schools are prepared for enrollment only at the beginning of the year, and anyone who registers after that gets a short-cut "fill and drill," especially if no interpreters are available. Staff may be pulled from their regular duties to translate and help families fill out forms; this is not an acceptable solution.

B. Reflection

How does the experience of a new student enrolling at the beginning of the year compare with a student enrolling in November? January? March? How does it compare for ELLs?

C. Strategies

  • Ask the staff involved in ELL student enrollment (including the main office staff and the ELL/bilingual departments) for ideas on how the school can make the enrollment process welcoming and accessible all year long.
  • Make sure all of the information available for parents and staff at the beginning of the year is accessible throughout the year.
  • Ask parents who enrolled their children after the beginning of previous school years what their experience was like and what could have been improved through a survey or questionnaire.

D. Example

  • Kristina Roberston shares a creative approach that her school employed in order to limit the impact of new student enrollment on lost classroom time. This involved training paraprofessionals who could be pulled more easily from support work to help enrolling families. The paraprofessionals received training on the packet of information that parents received, and this allowed the school to have more than one person available to assist new families. The school also set up regular testing times after school when teachers would be available, even if a student had already begun classes.

9. Provide opportunities for parents to learn more about important topics and skills

A. What you need to know

For parents who are not familiar with the U.S. educational system, there is a lot to learn - and it's pretty complicated! If your ELL families aren't "involved" in activities and events, one reason may be that they need more background information about our school system in a language they understand.

B. Reflection

Let's return to the hypothetical new country where you are preparing to enroll your child. Imagine that you are handed a thick booklet with information about standardized testing, grading systems, and college applications written a language you don't understand. Where would you begin in order to help your child?

C. Strategies

Whenever possible, offer parents the opportunity to attend workshops in their native language about complex topics such as:

  • The U.S. school system (The AFTs' bilingual Pathways to Success brochure, also available in Spanish, is a helpful guide.)
  • Information on how to check school websites to track their child's progress
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Standardized testing
  • Gifted programs
  • Special education services for speech, hearing, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, etc.
  • The college application process
  • Information on the benefits of reading at home (Start with Colorín Colorado's reading tips in 11 languages and family literacy outreach toolkit).

Note: Consider enlisting other staff members, parents, volunteers, or community partners to help organize and run these workshops.

D. Examples

  • At Greenfield Elementary School, ELL parents participate in an ESL class which teaches computer skills in addition to basic English skills. Parents write a bilingual cookbook of recipes as a final project, and each week they attend a potluck dinner together. Children work on their homework with high school volunteers while their parents are in class (Fugate, 50).
  • A local educator decided to hold a Spanish-language information session about college enrollment at a local church. The meeting was listed in the newspaper, announced at the church, and publicized through personal outreach. The organizer had planned for about twenty parents; instead, more than eighty attended (Alford & Niño, 83).
  • Another educator at a different school helped organize a "Math Power Path Night," in which class projects were arranged along a guided path so that parents could see the sequence of recommended math classes that their children should take. The principal had expected fifty parents; more than two hundred came (83)!

Related resources

  • Addressing Immigrant Families' Questions and Concerns

< Connecting with ELL Families

Parent Participation >


For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.

Communicating Important Information with ELL Families: Strategies for Success (2024)


What are some strategies for communicating with families that do not speak or read English? ›

Strategies That You Can Use to Connect and Improve Communication with Non-English Speaking Parents:
  • Listen. ...
  • Don't be afraid to use the technology available to you. ...
  • Try to use standard English at all times — don't use idioms, slang or analogies, because they might not understand these.
  • Have a friendly attitude!

What strategies are effective to support English language learners? ›

6 Essential Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners
  • Cultivate Relationships and Be Culturally Responsive. ...
  • Teach Language Skills Across the Curriculum. ...
  • Emphasize Productive Language. ...
  • Speak Slowly—and Increase Your Wait Time. ...
  • Differentiate—and Use Multiple Modalities.
12 Apr 2019

What strategies can educators use to create a welcoming space for families with English as a second language when they first enter the service? ›

Strategies for creating welcoming spaces:

Start by hanging a bilingual welcome sign. Put up maps from students' home countries and photos that reflect the students in your class. To make sure the images are authentic and relatable, check with colleagues who share those same cultures.

How do you effectively communicate with ELL parents? ›

Here are some ways to build an ongoing relationship with parents by reaching out through their native language.
  1. Find a fully bilingual interpreter. ...
  2. Translate the written communications that you send home. ...
  3. Learn some Spanish yourself. ...
  4. Put parents in touch with bilingual staff.

What are some strategies that empower parents to advocate for the academic success of their ELLs? ›

Encourage parents to:
  • Provide a place where children can do their homework.
  • Check that homework is completed each night.
  • Ask their children to tell them about what they learned each day.
  • Keep in regular contact with a teacher or staff member about their child's progress.
  • Ask teachers about any questions that arise.

What are the three strategies for supporting language development? ›

7 ways to support language development
  • 1 | Use Comments. ...
  • 2 | Ask fewer questions. ...
  • 3 | Wait. ...
  • 4 | Be at the child's level. ...
  • 5 | Take Turns. ...
  • 6 | Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. ...
  • 7 | Make any time a talking time. ...
  • Further support.

What are 5 strategies that can be used to facilitate effective communication with children? ›

Suggestions include:
  • Squat down to the same level as the child instead of towering over them.
  • Maintain eye contact with young children. ...
  • Smile. ...
  • Avoid talking to them when your back is turned or when you are walking away from them.
  • Use a gentle tone of voice, especially if tempers are starting to fray.

How do you engage involve and communicate with families of ESL students? ›

6 Tips for Engaging the Families of English Language Learners
  1. Make It Reciprocal. Engagement is a partnership between the parents and the school to serve the best interests of students. ...
  2. Aim for Authenticity. ...
  3. Use a Culturally Responsive Approach. ...
  4. Keep It Simple. ...
  5. Increase Capacity. ...
  6. Find Your Way Home.
25 Nov 2019

What are 3 ways you can be effective in working with parents of Els? ›

Post information in multiple languages. Discuss with parents the value of strong native language skills and being bilingual. Encourage parents to read or tell stories to their children in their native language.

Why is it important to foster meaningful communication with ELL families? ›

Getting this information doesn't just help the school operate more smoothly - it can make a critical difference in keeping children healthy and safe. Whether through translated forms or an interpreter, ELL parents need to know about the basics, such as: Enrollment procedures. The school schedule.

How can we encourage Ells families engagement in their children's education? ›

Five Ways to Engage Parents of ELL Students
  1. Connect with ELL students' families. ...
  2. Ensure the effective communication of important school information. ...
  3. Tailor your approach to the family's cultural traditions. ...
  4. Get parents involved in school activities. ...
  5. Formulate a plan to encourage parental engagement.

What are some strategies to help families to support maintain and preserve home language learning? ›

tips FoR enCouRaging hoMe language MaintenanCe:

Maintain a child's home language through the initial adjustment period as much as possible. Use dual-language books or apply a few key word strips to book pages using the home language. Encourage parents to keep speaking their home language with their children.

What are effective methods of collaboration with families? ›

To build a culture of collaborative family engagement, the following are useful practices.
  • Develop and support two-way communication between teachers and parents. ...
  • Encourage communication among parents. ...
  • Consider parents' perspectives. ...
  • Move beyond event-based engagement.
20 Apr 2018

What are the five communication support strategies? ›

It's also why we address issues that get in the way, such as emotional triggers.
Five Communication Strategies I Already Know – But Forget to Use
  • Think Before You Speak. ...
  • Make the Space for the Right Moment. ...
  • Respect the Other Person's Point of View. ...
  • Acknowledge Your Share in Causing the Problem. ...
  • Keep Your Heart Connection.
13 Mar 2012

What strategies can teachers use to successfully increase family participation? ›

For teachers, here are some tips to increase parent involvement:
  • Connect parents and schools. ...
  • Create an organizational structure. ...
  • Consider parents' time. ...
  • Encourage fathers to participate. ...
  • Identify and support leaning environments. ...
  • Learning centers. ...
  • Develop or Enhance Class and School Web Pages.

What strategies tips would you use to help families advocate for their children? ›

How Parents Can Be Advocates for Their Children
  • Get to know the people who make decisions about your child's education. ...
  • Keep records. ...
  • Gather information. ...
  • Communicate effectively. ...
  • Know your child's strengths and interests and share them with educators. ...
  • Emphasize solutions. ...
  • Focus on the big picture.

Which strategies are most effective for helping ELLs build their vocabulary? ›

Help ELLs build vocabulary by providing books with tapes in a listening center on one side of the classroom. By hearing and seeing the word in context at the same time, ELLs pick up its meaning and also gain prosody, and oral fluency.

What are the four powerful learning strategies? ›

This week, we feature a roundup of the four most powerful tools to boost students' long-term learning, backed by cognitive science research: retrieval practice, spacing, interleaving, and feedback-driven metacognition. How do you use these four strategies?

What are examples of language learning strategies? ›

Our advice is rather that educators should try them out, tailoring them to their specific context and reviewing the impact they have.
  • Communicative language teaching (CLT) ...
  • Task-based language teaching (TBLT) ...
  • Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) ...
  • Cooperative Language Learning (CLL) ...
  • The Direct Method.
8 Oct 2021

What do language learners use communication strategies for? ›

Communication strategies are strategies that learners use to overcome these problems in order to convey their intended meaning. Strategies used may include paraphrasing, substitution, coining new words, switching to the first language, and asking for clarification.

What are the different strategies to improve language skills? ›

But like any other skill, you can improve your spoken English if you practise regularly and follow these simple techniques.
  • Listen. The first step in improving your speaking skills is actually working on your listening. ...
  • Imitate. ...
  • Read. ...
  • Reflect. ...
  • Prepare. ...
  • Speak. ...
  • Practise.
18 Oct 2021

What are direct strategies in language learning? ›

Direct Strategies: They are strategies that involve directly the target language. Direct strategies require mental processing of the language. These strategies include memory, cognition, and compensation strategies. The direct strategies are beneficial to the students because they help store and recover information.

What are the 7 strategies of communication? ›

Here are seven communication strategies that any business or firm can use.
  • Understand the Full Spectrum of Communication Skills. ...
  • Talk in Person. ...
  • Encourage Participation in Speaking-Focused Organizations. ...
  • Focus on Listening. ...
  • Ask Open-Ended Questions. ...
  • Pay Attention to Body Language and Tone of Voice.
28 Mar 2017

What are the 10 strategies of effective communication? ›

These 10 tips can help you learn to communicate more effectively.
  • Find your voice. ...
  • Avoid filler words. ...
  • Consider your body language. ...
  • Use "I" statements. ...
  • Practice active listening. ...
  • Pay attention to facial expressions. ...
  • Provide visual context. ...
  • Learn to say "no"
7 Jan 2022

What are the 4 types of communication strategies? ›

There are four basic communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive. It's important to understand each communication style, and why individuals use them.

What four strategies can educators use to create a welcoming space for families with English as a second language? ›

6 strategies for partnering with families of English language learners
  • Create a welcoming space for families. ...
  • Get to know your students. ...
  • Build relationships with families. ...
  • Check your assumptions. ...
  • Get to know your language resources. ...
  • Think outside the box.

What methods can teachers use to connect to the families of students? ›

Good two-way communication between families and schools is necessary for your students' success.
Good two-way communication
  • Parent conferences.
  • Parent-teacher organizations or school community councils.
  • Weekly or monthly folders of student work sent home for parent review and comment.
  • Phone calls.
  • E-mail or school website.

How will I communicate with families who are English learners? ›

Use simplified language.

Many fluent speakers of English will not know the specialized language of education. Avoid speaking directly to the interpreter and be sure to include parents in the conversation. When you ask the parent questions, give the interpreter time to speak to them.

What is the most effective way to communicate with families? ›

Listening is one of the keys to effective communication. When you listen well, you get more information about children and their families. You also get the full benefit of parents' and carers' in-depth knowledge of their children.

How do you communicate with people who dont speak English? ›

How to communicate with people who don't understand your language
  1. Speak Slowly. ...
  2. Don't shout. ...
  3. Don't repeat the same word over and over. ...
  4. Don't patronise. ...
  5. Use simple words. ...
  6. Use even simpler sentences. ...
  7. Accept cave speak. ...
  8. Use one word and try to stick with it.
31 Mar 2014

How do you communicate with students parents who don't speak English? ›

4 Resources for Communicating with Non-English Speaking Parents
  1. Use an Online Translating Service. Online translation apps have really improved over the years. ...
  2. Ask People in Your School to Help. ...
  3. Communicate in a Third Language. ...
  4. Recruit Your Kids to Help.

What is the best method of communication for a non-English speaking patient? ›

Being aware of your own body language and what it conveys helps you communicate effectively with non-English speakers. You should also pay close attention to the body language and facial expressions used by those to whom you're speaking. It can give you vital clues about whether the patient is understanding you.

How do you communicate with non-English speaking children? ›

Give them opportunities to use vocabulary and phrases that they already know well. Check they understand questions and instructions. Use your first language to clarify if necessary. Keep speaking activities fun and not too long.

What are the 5 barriers to effective communication? ›

Common Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Dissatisfaction or Disinterest With One's Job. ...
  • Inability to Listen to Others. ...
  • Lack of Transparency & Trust. ...
  • Communication Styles (when they differ) ...
  • Conflicts in the Workplace. ...
  • Cultural Differences & Language.
18 Jul 2018

How do you communicate with language barriers? ›

Overcoming language barriers
  1. Use plain language. ...
  2. Find a reliable translation service. ...
  3. Enlist interpreters. ...
  4. Provide classes for your employees. ...
  5. Use visual methods of communication. ...
  6. Use repetition. ...
  7. Be respectful.

How would you effectively communicate with patients who hardly or do not speak and understand English at all? ›

Here are seven tips that can help you communicate with patients who don't speak English.
  1. Identify the language gap and build trust. ...
  2. Use Google Translate. ...
  3. Use a professional interpreter to convey medical information. ...
  4. Learn key phrases. ...
  5. Mind nonverbal cues and be compassionate. ...
  6. Mime things out. ...
  7. Use gestures.

How do you involve ELL parents in the classroom? ›

Five Ways to Engage Parents of ELL Students
  1. Connect with ELL students' families. ...
  2. Ensure the effective communication of important school information. ...
  3. Tailor your approach to the family's cultural traditions. ...
  4. Get parents involved in school activities. ...
  5. Formulate a plan to encourage parental engagement.

How can you create positive relationships with families who speak different languages? ›

C. Strategies
  1. Post information in multiple languages.
  2. Discuss with parents the value of strong native language skills and being bilingual.
  3. Encourage parents to read or tell stories to their children in their native language.
  4. Offer parent sessions, workshops, and classes in parents' native languages (Meyers, 44).

What are three 3 strategies you can use to improve your spoken communication skills? ›

There are specific things to do that can improve your communication skills:
  • Listen, listen, and listen. ...
  • Who you are talking to matters. ...
  • Body language matters. ...
  • Check your message before you hit send. ...
  • Be brief, yet specific. ...
  • Write things down. ...
  • Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone. ...
  • Think before you speak.

What is the most effective way to communicate with someone with limited English speaking abilities? ›

How to Communicate with Limited English Speakers
  1. Use fewer words rather than more to convey the same meaning: ...
  2. Use common, near-global reference points or analogies: ...
  3. Communicate an identical message in both speech and writing: ...
  4. Break up longer thoughts into shorter ones: ...
  5. When possible, demonstrate rather than explaining.

What is the best way to communicate with someone who speaks a different language? ›

During Your Presentation
  1. Speak slowly and clearly. If you tend to speak rapidly, slow it down. ...
  2. Don't shout. You've probably done it yourself. ...
  3. Avoid slang. ...
  4. Paraphrase. ...
  5. Use body language. ...
  6. Elicit feedback.

How can I improve my English communication skills for non native speakers? ›

7 Tips for Improving English Speaking Skills for Non-Native Speakers of English
  1. Record yourself. ...
  2. Take Accent Reduction and Pronunciation Course for Non-native Speakers of English. ...
  3. Get a partner. ...
  4. Speak slower. ...
  5. Practice one sound at a time. ...
  6. Find synonyms for words you can't pronounce. ...
  7. Practice speaking English everyday.

How you would communicate with a child that is non verbal? ›

Use both your body and your voice when communicating – for example, by extending your hand to point when you say “look” and nodding your head when you say “yes.” Use gestures that are easy for your child to imitate. Examples include clapping, opening hands, reaching out arms, etc.

How do you communicate with a bilingual child? ›

Use a picture timetable to keep all the children informed about the daily routine, regardless of language. Speak clearly and slowly so that children can pick up on the individual sounds within words more easily. Share songs and books in both languages. And encourage the parents to do this at home too.

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