Learn about the latest science on helping children become fluent in two or more languages – including advice for parents who speak one language but would like their children to be multilingual.

‘Starting at a young age allows children to "be fully immersed" in both languages, says Antonella Sorace, professor of developmental linguistics and founder of the Bilingualism Matters programme, a research and information centre at the University of Edinburgh, in the UK, that promotes bilingualism and language learning. Young children don't have other commitments, such as school and an independent social life, she says.

It's not just starting early that can make a positive difference, however. The other challenge is to keep the second language going, especially once children become more independent.

To achieve this, it's important that children are motivated and encouraged to speak multiple languages, says Sorace. "This is not always easy because children don't like feeling different. We hear from many migrant children that they don't want to speak their home language anymore, because that's what marks them out as different."

One way of encouraging children is by creating a "mini community" where they can regularly interact with peers who speak their language, she says. "This can be incredibly motivating."’

This is an excerpt from 'A wonderful opportunity': The adventure of raising bilingual children - BBC Future. You can read the full article by Isabelle Gerretsen here.