If you’ve decided that your child would benefit from being bilingual or even trilingual, then it’s never too early to begin to learn a new language. Speaking more than one language gives children an advantage once they’re older and begin applying for universities and internships. Opportunities which might not be available otherwise will become apparent quite quickly.
This boys school near Farnham Cross maintains that as the world becomes increasingly connected through advancing technologies, it has become essential for children to confidently learn to speak other languages if they are to maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly global careers market.
When your child is only 2 or 3, they’re already recognising speech patterns. They’ve been hearing you and other members of their family speak since birth and the quicker that second language is introduced, the easier it will be.
Before the age of 3, children have a sort of super-ability when it comes to picking up on phonic pronunciations. That means that a child exposed to a second language under the age of 3 will likely be able to pronounce words like a native speaker. So even if you’re not fluent yourself, you can still expose your child to other languages via song, television and radio or podcast.
Find opportunities for them to practice
If you want your child to speak French and you know someone who speaks the language, ask them to chat to your child. A casual learning style like this is valuable because the child doesn’t even realise they’re learning, only that they’re chatting or listening.
One word at a time is a good place to begin. You can teach your toddler or older child some simple words by letting them know what an object is in each language. Small children quickly learn that things can have more than one name – that different languages call things by different names.
Exposure is what makes a difference
You can show your child as many videos and sing them as many songs as you like but that alone won’t help them to become bilingual. It’s use of language which really cements it. Find as many opportunities as possible to expose your child to the spoken language that you’re trying to teach them.
That might mean a trip to the country in question or finding opportunities to attend playgroups where more than one language is spoken. However you do it, make sure that your child gets to practice as often as possible and they’ll be bilingual before you know it.