Bilingual Speech Activation online course is open

Fancy easier chats with your child in the minority language?


Do you live abroad and have a child who does not enjoy speaking your language with you? Welcome. Nice to meet you. 

Maybe this online course could bring happiness back into speaking your native language with your bilingual child. 

The course teaches the Bilingual Speech Activation method developed by Soile Pietikainen, a sociologist of family specialised in bilingual family interaction.

You can learn how to help your child to speak, even if your child only says a few words in your language at the moment. 

The method was previously only available through private family consultancy, but now it has been published as an online course.

The course is designed to help bilingual children aged 3-6 who need help with speaking their parent's native language.

The method works for any language. The course is in English. 

If you know you need this, maybe ask about it straight away by emailing soile [ at ] 


Who ever said bilingual parenting was easy? Well, lot of people actually! 

Most of us start bilingual parenting thinking that it should be fairly straightforward. We have heard that if we speak our language to our child while we live abroad, our child will grow up with two native languages - just like that! 

Then it turns out to be anything but easy. 

I was really lucky to discover years before having my first child just how hard bilingual parenting can be. I felt a burning need to understand why it was so hard for so many bilingual families, and how I could help my own future children to grow up happily with three native-like languages. Because our family is trilingual in Finnish, Italian and English. 

By the time my children were in late primary school I had a solid understanding of how our family was creating the Harmonious Bilingual Development that we were enjoying. But how could I to help others? I knew that personal experience makes nobody an expert. And there were no previous studies on what really happens in bilingual family interaction after the age of 5 or on how one might recover lost languages. 

As a social science research methodologist, in my mind there was only thing for it: a new ethnographic study of bilingual family life, designed to find out why a small minority of bilingual families is far more successfull than all the others. If I could find out what the exceptional success stories depend on, I could teach other parents to do the same. Suddenly bilingual parenting could become easier to hundreds of families. 

In 2008 I won a research grant from the Kone Foundation for on 4-year study with London-born bilingual children aged 5-15, and their parents, to discover how they really use languages at home. I used interaction sociology to understand the hidden processes in everyday talk that lead to minority languages either thriving or fading during children's school years.

The study broke many core beliefs about bilingualism that I had learned from reading academic research for the previous 12 years. The discoveries changed my life. 

It became my purpose to help bilingual families when things had already gone wrong. In 2011 I began working with families to activate bilingual children's fading languages. Working to help my wonderful family clients, I gradually refined my methodology for Bilingual Speech Activation. 

I saw just how effective the new method was in revitalising children's bilingualism. It was wonderful to see that it was possible to bring happiness back to bilingualism even when families had struggled for years and when they had almost given up bilingual parenting forever.

There had to be a way to share this help with more families. That is why I created the Bilingual Fluency online course. 

In this video I tell about turning the Bilingual Speech Activation knowledge into an online course.


Bilingual parenting becomes easier when parents learn concrete skills to speed up the learning process for the minority language.

Back in the day when I was a young parent, all my academic knowledge did not make me immune to the problems of bilingual parenting. When my daughter was 3-years-old she stopped speaking Finnish to me.

This is me telling the story of how I reactivated my daughter's Finnish language in a matter weeks by using sociology. That was the crucial turning point in my own bilingual parenting story and later that experience became the seed from which the methodology for Bilingual Speech Activation grew. 



In the Bilingual Fluency course you learn how to have great conversations with your child in your language, without insisting, nagging or conflict about language. 

This course is suitable for you if:

1) your child currently seems to understand you, but does not speak your language.

2) your child is asking you to stop speaking your language to them.  

3) your child previously spoke your language, but has now stopped, for example after starting pre-school.

4) your child could speak your language, but they only do if you remind them. Often you just give up. 


This course in not suitable for you:

1) Your child has never spoken your language before. You need a different kind of help first.

2) Your family is trilingual. A Bespoke consultancy is better for trilingual families.

3) You want to introduce a non-native language. A very different methodology is needed for that.

4) Your child is not yet 3. I have different methods for toddlers. Ask about it.

5) Your child is older than 6 and already in school. Many of the same skills are relevant. Ask about your individual case. 


One of the key objectives of the course is to reduce language ralated stress for the parent and the child 

For example you will learn:

  • when it is ok to let your child mix languages and when to focus on one language more rigorously.

  • a clear strategy to get your child to switch to your language whenever you need them to.


You don't even have to speak your language to your child all the time.


When you can focus on specific moments when you help your child effectively, you know you can relax the rest of the time.

At the begining parents practice the method just a few times a day for very short moment of time.

I tell them to do it for roughly 20 second and not more than 20 times in any particular day.

When you and your child make progress together, the conversations you have begin to extend, but the level of effort does not necessarily increase.

In this video I explain where the rule of thumb of 20x20 seconds came from and what it is.



"Bilingual parenting is easy when it works"

Or is it? It certainly seem utopian when you have tried everything you can think of, to no avail. Maybe you have received advice like this:

"Always speak your language to your child"

Always? How am I supposed to do that?

"Keep speaking your language to your child."

What? Even if they don't understand?

"Show videos, take to playgroups, sing songs, read books, hire nannies, travel often..."

Help!!! I haven't got the money! I haven't got the time! I can't keep up!

Thankfully - you don't have to.


What will I learn in this course?

  • ​Week 1: Learn to understand your bilingual family in a new way

  • Week 2: Learn about your communication style 

  • Week 3: Learn how to help children speak your language

  • Week 4: Learn what kind of things lead to fluent bilingualism

This is quite a learning journey. It is good to be prepared to dedicate 6 months to it. The fastest parents have completed the programme in 4 months. 

And yes, new skills aren't effortless. You will need to follow the instructions to the letter and practice daily to master the new skills.

The outcomes depend on many things, such as:

  • your child's age and language skills when you start the programme and
  • how well you have learned and implemented the course content.

At the beginning each skill will require significant effort to learn. Once you have mastered the skills they become like second nature.

For many families it takes 4-6 months to achieve a lasting upgrade from the baseline at the beginning of the course.

Please note, that no specif outcome for your child can be quaranteed.

This video gives your a short summary of the course contents.


This online course is based on the Bilingual Speech Activation methodology that I have been using since 2011 with bilingual and trilingual families who speak all kinds of different language combinations. 

As a parent I know that time is a precious comodity, especially when children are little.

This course covers the most effective methods I have developed to help children speak their parent's language.

Learning new parenting skills now makes bilingual parenting so much easier later, because once you have learned how to help your child, you can always use the same skills. 


Course admissions are strictly through a 30-minute FREE consultancy meeting with Soile. In the video meeting we assess if the course is right for you and your child. Places are limited.

To book your assessment and admissions meeting email me at soile (at) 

Bilingual Potential is an ethical enterprise dedicated to every child's right to learn and use their minority languages. This right is defined in the Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).