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Meeting someone who is fluent in more than one language may be common in a country like India, but it is definitely impressive. Find out just how to raise a bilingual or multilingual child in today’s day and age. And yes, this is possible as early as in babyhood!
Most people attribute bilingualism or multilingualism to exemplary language skills, but the truth is that if we begin at an early age, all of us could be fluent in more than one language. Here are a few suggestions to give your baby a headstart!
Why Make Your Baby Bilingual
- It is found that children who study languages have more creative imaginations, are better with abstract ideas and can be more flexible while thinking.
- They turn out to be better listeners too.
- It helps a child understand people from other cultures and show respect towards people unlike them.
- In the future, it will open up tons of career opportunities as well.
Train Them Young
Babies have the capability to mimic sounds. At about 10 months of age, the baby learns to focus on words and sounds a lot better. This is why you should introduce any languages you may want your baby to learn in the first year itself.
If your family is bilingual, speak the second language to the baby at all times so that your baby will learn it fluently. If not, wait until 2.5 years when the first language has been fully picked up so that your baby doesn’t mix the two to form his own mix.
No, it is not absurd to enrol your little baby in a language class. There are classes available for children as little as 2 years. These are for both mommy and baby and can be a fun learning experience for you too. If you are seeking a class, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Your child might as well learn authentic language from someone hailing from the region of the preferred language. This will ensure that the accent is perfect. The teacher should also exclusively speak only that language in the classroom to the child so that there is no option but for the child to learn to communicate to her in that language.
Needs to be Fun and Engaging
Children are still children at the end of the day and a class that has no interactive and fun activities can be dry and boring. Make sure the class you pick includes rhymes, songs, art and crafts as well. Those are great tools for leaning and serve as a strong way of forming associations in your child’s brain. Songs in that language help with diction as well.
It is Not Too Exhausting
Before you enrol your child in the class, check for the duration of the class. Long hours can be too exhausting and hamper learning greatly. It creates an overload of information. Short, crisp and fun classes are what you need.
How to Make Learning Fun at Home
Even though you may have found a great class to enrol your child in, there are some things you need to reinforce at home as well, to turn your child’s interest into his passion.
- Buy some books, music CDs, movies, cartoons and shows in the respective language, making it an activity that your child becomes a part of daily.
- Check your supermarket for foods that fit with the culture to inculcate the diet in their lives too. This helps the child get immersed in a culture that is different from his. It is not a complete modification of diet, just an inclusion.
- Make labels in the foreign language and get your child to identify them.
Babies can be great learners if only you keep the approach gentle, interesting and not stressful. Help them in their language journey by being an eager companion and teacher.