At very young ages your child begins to develop their language skills at an incredibly rapid rate which leads them to be able to take in and absorb virtually anything that they hear, which is precisely why young children are fully capable of being able to learn countless words from any language, including two, at impeccable rates. The best part of it all is the fact that you do not even need to put your child into a special language class in order to learn and develop their language skills in a language that is apart from their mother tongue. Here is the science that backs your child’s capability to learn and grow upon their developing language skills as well as some great tips that you can utilize in the comfort of your own home to aid your child’s growing mind.
According to infant language and brain developmental research of which is based upon several years of research studies conducted at I-LABS in Madrid, one notable method in particular was used that showed significant results in terms of building upon your child’s second language development. The method emphasizes the utilization of play, high quality/quantity teacher language, and social interaction and uses “infant-directed speech” (or “parentese”), a speech stylization that parents often use to speak to their little ones and provides far more simple grammar, drawn out vowels and higher-tones to encourage your child to listen. According to the research conducted, infants and toddlers between the ages of 7 to 33.5 months were given an hour of English lessons each day for a duration of 18 weeks, while a separate control group were provided with the Madrid school system’s standard bilingual program. At both the beginning and the end of the 18 week programs, both of the groups of babies and infants were in turn tested in both English and Spanish and the children were also provided with a special vest that contained a recorder that was to record their learning of English to find out how many English phrases and words the child was able to comfortably speak.
Learning two languages at the same time does not hinder but IMPROVES the development of the primary language!
The results went on to show that the children who received the Madrid school system’s method actually indicated a rapid increase in terms of English production and comprehension, and also vastly performed better than the control group of children who tested solely on their English skills. And by the end of the program, the children who were in the Madrid school system’s method program actually averaged a production of seventy-four English phrases and words per each child every hour; whereas the children who were in the English-only control group were producing a mere 13 English phrases and words per each child every hour.
Learning a second language increases the neural synapses between the left and right brain
So many parents are coming to agree that our world is becoming increasingly globalized and are beginning to understand the importance of encouraging their children to become more culturally developed and even bilingual from very early ages. When you expose your child to a second language they are not only learning about a different culture, but they are also building upon skills that we lead them into their adulthood. In fact, there have been many different studies that have gone on to show that children who develop their bilingual skills from an earlier age actually tend to become far more creative in their way of thinking than children who speak only one language. In fact, in one study it was suggested that brain functions in young children actually stay much more sharp as they start to get older. So, what can you do to encourage your child and to help them learn a second language? Here are some of the top tips to help your child out, today!
At as early as 2 and 3 years of age, your child is starting to increase their vocabularies along with their starting to recognize the standard speech patterns of which they have been hearing and trying to understand since they were born. Which is precisely why when it comes down to introducing your child to a second language, the earlier you do so, the far easier it is going to be for your child to learn and gather the unique sound that the words themselves make to your child’s developing ears and mind. Your child’s capability in learning to hear the pronunciations of various phonetics is at its highest point prior to the age of 3 years, which means that your child can actually start to lose that overall capacity to be able to produce particular sounds and to even be able to hear them if your child has not been introduced to the notable and distinct sounds at an early age. Which is why the most simple steps to introducing your child to a second language is to let them hear it early on. Listen to music, put on a television show or move or plain and simply speak the language to your child, these are all vital tools to encourage your child to begin the process of picking up the key sounds of the language itself without them even knowing that they are learning something.
Immersion > Word Repetition
One of the best way’s for your child to begin the process of understanding any new language is to allow them to be able to hear people speaking the language in a fluent manner, in a super casual environment. When your child is often exposed to various conversations in a second language, the more easier it will be for your child to learn to pick out the various sounds that language has along with the natural accent of the language itself. If your friend, family member, babysitter or nanny happens to be bilingual, as them to speak to your child in the language only or when you go to eat out at a local ethnic restaurant ask your host to do the same and explain to them what you are doing. 2 and 3 year old’s learn by mimicking what they see and hear, which is why if they are surrounded by something like a second language, they will more easily begin to pick up words and even short phrases at an advanced rate.
Call an object its name in different languages
If you do not want to do or if you simply do not have the time for more formal language lessons, you easily can still take advantage of introducing the basics of bilingual language skills by simply showing your child that there are two names to some objects that they already may know the names to. For instance, if your child can say “ball” point out that ball is called a different name in a different language. You child will then easily come to understand that all words have two (and more!) meanings in different languages and will eventually start to ask what those words in fact are.
When you are teaching your child to start to learn the basics of learning a second language, it is of the utmost importance to provide your child with encouragement and to also have reasonable expectations for your child. Your child will most certainly not become bilingual overnight by simply singing songs, watching television, and hearing conversations, your child will gain exposure to the language which of course will help them build upon those fundamental second language developmental skills.
To avoid confusion, have different family members only speak in one language to the child.
It should be noted that the only true way that your child can actually go on to master becoming bilingual if by having someone consistently around who speaks that second language fluently as well. Which is why it can become confusing to consistently have two languages for a child in the household. If you or your spouse is bilingual there are some general guidelines that you may want to consider. For instance, if you and your partner may want to consider opting for the rule of one language for one person, meaning that you only speak to your child in one language, while your partner speaks to them in their own language. This will ensure that your child does not get confused by each of the languages and starts to only receive pieces of the language. Mix-ups are of course going to be inevitable, you can be sure to expect that your child is going to confuse words between languages and that is perfectly normal for your child as they learn to distinguish the two languages that they are learning.
It is additionally important to never underestimate the process of your child. Many people have gone on the record to state that they believe the a child who learns two different languages at one time may cause speech delays, this is actually far from the case. You may note that your child may say less words in English than other children of their own age, when you go on to increase the words that they learn in their second language you will come to gather that your child actually more than likely knows far more words in total than that of other children their age.
Make it fun!
And finally, one of the best ways that you can encourage your child to build upon their second language skills is to plain and simply encourage play time! When you go shopping for toys and other fun items for your child, one great tip is to seek out games, CD’s, movies and toys for your child that are of a bilingual nature. It is important for you to look for items that contain words that are clearly spoken by a speaker who is native of the language and can provide your child with the proper accents. You can even search out free online websites and even free apps that your child can take advantage of by playing simply playing games and taking in a ton of information via building upon their second language skills.