Tag Archives: raising a bilingual baby

Teach Your Child A New Language in 5 Simple Steps

Teach Your Child A New Language in 5 Simple Steps

Teaching your child a new language doesn’t have to be difficult.
I’m going to show you how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps.  Although children can easily learn multiple languages, oftentimes we aren’t sure how to teach them. However, helping your child learn a new language is easier than you think.  Let’s take a look.

1. Listening to Music

Baby Listening to Music

Exposing your child to music is one of the simplest ways you can introduce them to a new language.  As we know, children learn by seeing, listening, and interacting.  When you play music in another language, your child will become familiar with the rhythm of the language. Listening to music will introduce them to new vocabulary, pitch, inflection, and the nuances of the language they are learning.

When I was trying to teach my children Spanish, I played a lot of Spanish music for them.  The simple songs were very catchy and encouraged my children to sing along.  Even if they didn’t understand the songs at first, they were developing essential skills for future communication. Hearing and repeating Spanish songs will help your child become a natural in the language.  If you want to help your child learn a new language, play music for them as often as you can.  It’s all about creating an environment for learning.  Playing music is one simple way you can set the stage for your child’s journey in language learning.

2. Watching Videos/Programs

MonkiSee "Todo Sobre Mi"

If you want to know how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps, pay close attention to this one.  Having my children watch videos or TV programs in another language is one of my favorite ways to teach them a new language.  I highly recommend finding some good DVDs or shows they can watch.  I love using videos because it incorporates two forms of learning – seeing and listening.  While music is great, videos can give your child a visual representation of the words they are hearing.  It’s great for parents too.  While you might not understand songs, a video makes it clear and allows you to learn right along with your child.  I’ve just released my first baby Spanish video, “Todo Sobre Mi.”  This is perfect for introducing your child to familiar first words and body parts in Spanish.

3. Reading Books

Reading Book to Baby

We know that reading to children is extremely beneficial, and reading them books in a foreign language is just another way to increase the benefits from books.  When children read books in a foreign language, they become acquainted with the structure of the language.  Seeing individual words is quite different from reading full sentences.  Look for simple picture books that you and your child will enjoy reading together.  You may want to practice reading the book first so your pronunciation is correct.

Look for translations of popular kids’ books, nursery rhymes, and bilingual books.  I appreciate the bilingual books since I can read it in another language yet still understand the story.

* If you find it difficult to read to your child in a foreign language, see if your library offers a story time in Spanish, French, or whatever the language may be.  You could also download Ebooks in another language.  Some Ebooks have an audio option and will read to you.

4. Viewing Flashcards

Baby with Flashcards

Flashcards have always been a favorite of mine.  They are quick, fun, interactive, and effective. Out of the five steps listed in how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps, this is one of the easiest.  Whether you purchase flashcards or create your own, start showing your baby flashcards about 3 times each day.

You might choose 10-15 words to quickly flip through when they wake up, after a diaper change, during bath time, or whenever is convenient for you. It should only take you about 30 seconds per session to review the flashcards.

Another way you can utilize your flashcards is by taping them up around the house.  I used to have flashcards all over the place when I was trying to teach my children Spanish.  I would have them on the fridge, chairs, light switches, dressers, and wherever else I could place them.  When I’d walk around the house I’d show my baby the word and say it to them a couple times.

Flashcards are great because they are so versatile.  Not only can you use them as review cards, but they’re also great for playing cards.  My kids loved playing Spanish matching games with our flashcards.  No matter how you use them, find what works best for you and start incorporating flashcards into your daily routine.

5. Conversing with Others

Mom and Baby

We’ve reached our final and maybe most important step in how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps.  Conversation.  If your child does not view flashcards, or listen to music, or read books, or watch TV, they can still learn a new language simply by conversing with others.  If your child is constantly spoken to and engaged with those who speak another language, he will learn to speak it as well.  I have witnessed this occurrence time and time again. Conversation is key to a language transformation.

I must admit that none of my children speak Spanish.  Although I showed them flashcards, and read them books, and did all I could, I don’t speak Spanish.  My efforts have not been a waste. They know some Spanish and it has blessed them in other areas, but they are not fluent Spanish-speakers.  Why?  They were rarely spoken to in Spanish.

This is why I encourage you to find someone to talk to your child in a foreign language.  If your child is consistently hearing the language spoken and being “forced” in a sense to respond, they will grasp it.  Perhaps you can take them to a class, or hire a babysitter to watch them for part of the day, or visit friends and family that speak the language.  Do whatever you can to allow them to communicate and interact with those who speak the language you want them to learn.

Remember that consistency is key in all that you do.  Your baby can learn quickly and effortlessly, so optimize on this amazing period of time and give your child the gift of language. You can easily teach them a new language, all it requires is a bit of dedication.  I hope you found these 5 steps helpful, and I would love to hear about your ideas for teaching children language. Would you take a moment to comment below and let me know what language you want your child to learn?  Are you already teaching your child a foreign language? What methods do you like to use? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so don’t forget to share your ideas in the Comments below!

Can Babies Learn More Than One Language

Can Babies Learn More Than One Language?

We know that babies can learn to identify colors and shapes. They can learn to count and read, but can babies learn more than one language? If you’ve ever wondered at the possibility of teaching your child multiple languages, then you will definitely appreciate this month’s series – “Raising A Bilingual Baby.”

Honestly, your child can be more than bilingual, but we’ll discuss that in another post.

For now, let’s dive a little deeper into the possibility of babies learning more than one language. That may sound foreign to a lot of people, but it is possible for your child to learn more than one language. Even if you do not speak multiple languages, your child can learn them. You may be asking yourself “How is this possible?” If you’re ready to discover how babies learn more than one language, read on. It’s quite exciting.

 

Introducing Your Child to Different Languages

In order to understand how your child can learn multiple languages, let’s first take a quick look at how babies learn language in general. Contrary to what some may believe, we don’t actually need to “teach” our children language. The intricacies of a language may be taught later on, but babies don’t need to be taught how to speak. This occurs naturally.

In fact, babies are learning language from the moment they are born. Their brains soak up information like a sponge. While the complexities of all they’re learning may be astounding to us, it is a natural occurrence. For a child, learning language is extremely simple. During the period of birth to one year, babies have the amazing ability of learning multiple languages with ease. If you teach your child both English and Spanish simultaneously before the age of one, they will be able to speak each language with a perfect accent. This is true for any language you teach your child during the first years of life.

When babies are exposed to multiple languages before the age of one, they are able to decipher the nuances of each language and can effortlessly master each one. Even if they do not become fluent in a specific language, they will greatly benefit from their exposure to them.  Hearing a language before the age of one allows children to learn to speak that language like a native speaker without an accent.

It is important to remember that anyone can learn a new language. The key is – the younger the better. Teaching babies languages is optimal, but even young children can quickly learn a variety of languages. A child’s brain is wired to learn language, and it doesn’t matter how many you introduce them to.

Know that as the parent you have the great privilege of deciding what languages your child will learn. The time, ease, and efficiency in which your child learns language is completely dependent on you. They can learn so many languages effortlessly as babies, so why wait till high school to introduce one or two? You have the ability to give your child one of the greatest gifts. Don’t hesitate to start!

If you are not bilingual, don’t worry. It’s still possible for your child to learn multiple languages. You must simply be dedicated and purposeful in teaching him as much as you can.

 

Is It Possible for Me?

Sometimes we hear about the amazing abilities which babies possess, but we’re hesitant to believe that it’s possible for our children to accomplish such feats. It sounds too good to be true, right? If you doubt whether your child can learn more than one language, I have some incredible stories to share with you. Witnessing my children, and children of my friends, I was blown away by what they could do. It’s truly amazing and I hope that these stories inspire you to begin exposing your child to multiple languages as well.

 

3 Months to Language Fluency

I met a lady from Saudi Arabia many years ago.  Her son was three and he didn’t speak or understand a word of English.  Our communication was very strained because of this.  Three months later I saw them again and was astonished to meet a child that was speaking perfect English.  In my amazement I asked her how he learned to speak so well in such a short time.  She said that he learned from playing with the local kids.  I knew children could learn language quickly, but that just really blew me away.

 

How Spanish Helped My Son in School

I spoke as much Spanish as I could to my baby until he was two years old.  I taught him all I could with the limited Spanish I knew.  Although I didn’t continue I can see the benefits at work in his life.  Out of all of my six children, he picks up language the easiest.  We were studying Latin for school and he understood it almost effortlessly.  I attribute this to the exposure he had to Spanish.

 

Speaking to Friends vs. Studying in School

Haven’t you heard the stories of adults studying at the university for years in an attempt to learn a new language and their children, without any classes learn two or three languages just from interacting with babysitters or maids that speak a different language.  The parent, who has studied a language for years needs his child to be his translator when he wants to communicate effectively with a foreigner.  Perhaps by not teaching our babies multiple languages we are getting it all wrong.  What do you think?

 

If you’re excited to begin exploring the possibilities of teaching your child different languages, then be sure to check back for our next post on “How to Teach Children Multiple Languages.