Many people think babies and toddlers can’t learn a second language when they’re still learning the basics of their first. Introducing them to a new language might confuse them or stop them from being able to master the one they’ll need to use every day. However, teaching a baby or toddler a second language and having them competently master both is entirely possible. In fact, you might have a bilingual child before long by taking these actions:
Enroll Them In a Language Program
Not knowing a second language yourself doesn’t mean you can’t raise a bilingual child. Sometimes, you just have to look outside your family unit for help. Reach out to language program providers like World Kids School to find the most suitable option for your child.
Many of the best language program providers offer classes for various age groups, like newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers. Learning techniques can differ for each developmental age. For example, infants from eight weeks old to 12 months might learn a second language like Mandarin or Spanish through immersion and play-based curriculum. Toddlers might enjoy being introduced to a new language through music, sensory play, and art. Preschoolers also have an opportunity to learn through hands-on curriculums and play.
Talk to Them
Most parents don’t actively teach their children to talk. They pick up new words by listening to us. Repeat ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ long enough, and parents aren’t typically surprised when those two words are among their children’s first.
You can take the same approach when teaching your babies and children to speak in a second language. If you’re proficient in the same language you want your baby to learn, speak it around them early and often. Talk about the things you’re doing and interact with them in both languages. If you don’t speak the second language, you can use music, voice recordings, and follow-along books.
Incorporate Language Into Play
Teaching babies and toddlers a second language might seem like an impossible task when they can’t actively study words in books. However, children learn through play. That’s why play is an important framework in educational facilities.
Your young children may pick up sounds and words in a second language when they’re incorporated into songs, games, and rhymes. Continuously exposing them to these activities may also make it easier for them to remember this new information.
Buy Bilingual Activities
You don’t always actively need to practice a second language with your young child. Sometimes, exposure to it is enough to lay the groundwork for bilingualism. Consider buying bilingual activities your child can interact with whenever they like, not just when you’re actively trying to teach them a new language.
There are plenty of options to choose from, like puzzles, board books, and picture rugs. Many toy manufacturers now offer bilingual toys as standard, like walker and activity tables with multiple language options, musical books, and musical plush toys.
As challenging as it might seem to teach a baby a second language when they haven’t yet grasped their first, it’s entirely possible. Take some of these approaches above, and you may lay an excellent foundation for your children to learn two languages confidently.