As a doting parent you want to give your darling baby the best chance at finding real, stable success and happiness in life, and one of the best ways of fostering creativity, intelligence and adaptability is by teaching your child more than one language as early as possible. Children have an easier time learning multiple languages early in their development, when they’re just starting to babble their first words. Incorporating additional vocabulary (with the help of some practical advice) is a simple process.
Parents Who Speak One Language
You may wonder how, as a parent who speaks only one language, you can provide the right environment for your baby boy or girl to accomplish this seemingly difficult task. Though bilingual parents often have a head start here, parents of all backgrounds and experience levels can still employ these tips. So fear not, there are numerous solutions for a monolingual parent for introducing and reinforcing any tongue of your choice, even a nuanced and beautiful dialect like Vietnamese or Chickasaw. Here are some simple suggestions, tips and tricks for getting started.
Though there is no specific age at which children should first start learning, the younger the child, the more impact the lessons are likely to have. Some educators recommend beginning around preschool, but your little one can start at two or three by learning two words, one in English and one in, say, French, Spanish or Mandarin, for the everyday objects he encounters. Introducing short phrases naturally, such as buenos tardes or au revoir, and quizzing your babies during regular activities makes the experience pleasant, easy and fun.
Teaching at Home
Teaching at home is a surprisingly simple process for bilingual parents, who can simply speak directly to the child in either tongue, or choose one parent to speak in one language and the other in the secondary one. This helps differentiate the two speeches, which helps the child separate vocabulary and grammar. Monolinguists aren’t left out of this process. Many toys, games and television shows are adept at familiarizing both children and adults with new words in the correct accents.
In addition to routine at-home instruction, you always have the option of advancing the progress with outside classes and influence. Foreign language schooling assists casual practice with formal explanations and exercises. If you have the opportunity, a less expensive option is allowing fluent friends and family members time to converse with your little one in their native tongue.
A Native Language
Sometimes the hardest part of starting a second language program is choosing just one to speak. There are fine reasons for speaking Italian, Portuguese or Cantonese, but one unusual choice that’s rich with history is Chickasaw. Encouraging your children to learn this beautiful Native American tongue helps protect an important culture, while also giving your baby a big step up in school and life. You can find more information at the Oklahoma Cultural Center.
Your child is beautiful, smart and precious, so give him or her the best chance at developing confidence and creativity, happiness and achievement by instilling in him the advantage of bilingualism. Whether Spanish, German or Chickasaw, a second language is often the foundation for success.