Three Reasons to Introduce a Second Language to your Child Now
It’s no secret that at home we speak Serbian with all three, but have occasionally throw in words in English as well. The boys have picked up English so quickly. Vasilije, for example at age two didn’t know a single word in English, well other than maybe hi, and chicken, and see you later. Between age three and four, he learned English to a point he was able to have a conversation with other kids at the library. I mean, I still remember the first time I took him to the library (Mateja was a baby then) and him trying to speak Serbian to the other kids. Or when we would go to the park and he’d play with other kids, because he was always social, but knew zero English and they wouldn’t understand him. He is now learning a bit of Spanish and French, but focusing on Spanish. He picks up quickly. While Mateja is still too little, he is picking up Spanish words from his big brother. I love it! I teach Vasilije, and he teaches Mateja.
In this post I wanted to share the three main reasons why you should introduce a second language to your child now. I know it may sound biased, as I already speak Serbian and learned English, but hear me out.
Ability to learn
First, everything I have read about babies and kids to this point says that infants have the ability to learn a second language. A prime example of this that now thinking back to when we came here makes total sense, are my two brothers. They were Vasilije and Mateja’s age (3 and 4) when we came here, and they picked up English in no time. It took them just a bit of going to school to learn it. Teach them early on, they learn quicker and pick up so fast. You already know how your toddler mimics everything they hear, well they’ll do the same with a second language. Vasilije always gets excited to share with his grandparents what he learned new in Spanish or French.
Flexible thinking, enhances memory, & boosts child’s concentration
Second, studies show that being multi-lingual encourages flexible thinking, enhances memory, and boosts a child’s concentration. I firmly believe in this too. The more I read, the more I am convinced that learning another language boosts cognitive skills in babies too.
Set them up for success
Third, you’ll set them up for success later on in life. It’s already well known that being multi-lingual is desired in this economy, so you can only do them a favor by introducing it early on. Not forcing anything, at their own pace as with everything else. Don’t expect them to learn a second language overnight, be patient it’s a progress.
If you can, expose your baby to another language and let them show you how they grow into. They will benefit from increased brain development. I have yet to read something negative about introducing a second language. And, don’t worry they will not be confused. They are smarter than you think.
So for all the times people have wondered if my kids are confused because at home we speak Serbian, they watch cartoons in English and speak to other kids in English – No, they are not confused.
Personally, I am shocked at their development and growth over the last few years. I cannot even take full credit for everything, a lot of it comes from social interaction, exploring new places, and having new experiences.
When we read, I translate all the books im Serbian to the boys. Most of these stories are same when I was growing up.
Play & Learn
We like these interactive toys –
- LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book ($18) They speak in both English and Spanish – 100 words to learn. Teach one word at a time.
- Sing & Learn Italian With Professor Toto ($30) This line of books, CDs, and DVDs also offers versions in Spanish, French, and German.
- We also love the Melissa and Doug Tabletop Easel for practicing.
Do you speak a different language at home? Are you bilingual? I would love to hear your story.