Terrific Tips For Teaching Your Child A Second Language
You realize the benefits of having a second language, but do you know where to turn or how to begin the process of teaching your little one a second language? Read through the following second language learning tips provided by a bilingual mom, educator and leading expert on the subject:
1. Start the second language learning early! Experts agree – the earlier, the better. Play language music CDs during the pregnancy. Talk to your baby from the moment of birth – in two or more languages if possible. If you and your family only speak one language, begin introducing a new language with bilingual music CDs and DVDs when appropriate.
2. Repetition is the key for all your child’s learning. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
3. From birth through age 10, many experts advise using the native and the new languages together. After about age 12, total immersion is a good option. Early in life, the bilingual approach is best.
4. Find a bilingual language learning program and/or product for your young child that incorporates these components: visual, music, beginning reading and verbal exchange.
5. Help your child enjoy the new language daily. Guidelines by age are as follows, using music, movement and creative learning tools.:
- infant = 10 minutes
- toddler = 20 minutes
- preschooler = 30 minutes
- elementary school child = 45+ minutes
6. Make learning the new language fun! Don’t ever force it.
7. Gently guide your child into the new language journey. Show a high level of confidence. Smiling usually works best!
8. If your home language is Spanish, do not agree to an immersion program of English only for your child under the age of 10. The “sink or swim” mentality does not work for little children.
9. If your Spanish-speaking child is learning English, do not listen to school staff who suggest you give up speaking your native language at home.
The myth that your children will be language delayed or have a language disorder is just that – a myth. In fact, bilingual children will ultimately speak both languages better!
Beth Butler is the creator of the BOCA BETH Program – a bilingual educational program geared towards helping young children get a head start on becoming bilingual. She motivates and assists educators in developing a bilingual environment for children, and she has developed a program that makes bilingual education a fun and easy part of the normal, child-raising routine for today’s parents. For more information, visit www.bocabeth.com