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Many parents are of the opinion that exposing kids to two or more languages, simultaneously, may confuse them. This is a misconception. Bust this and other common myths around bilingual kids right now!
Language Development Problems in Bilingual Toddlers: Myths
1. Learning more than one language confuses children
By the age of six months, toddlers learning two languages can differentiate between something as diverse as French and Arabic. This myth is probably based on the conclusions of older research or poorly designed studies. Earlier, these studies had prompted educators and parents to emphasise proficiency in a more “accepted” language such as English.
2. Bilingual kids suffer from speech delays
Speech development in bilingual toddlers may be slightly delayed, especially when compared to children brought up in monolingual households. This is a temporary delay that disappears gradually. So, if your toddler is suffering from any form of speech development lags, then, raising him bilingual will not bring about much difference. Rest assured that he will reach the required developmental milestones soon.
3. The two languages end up getting mixed
Yes, small kids will end up mixing two languages in the beginning, especially when they are trying to sort the words and their meanings. But this mix-up is harmless, inevitable and among the short-lived challenges of a bilingual child. Also, one language may have a stronger influence than the other. This induces kids to draw their vocabulary from the dominant language and use it elsewhere.
4. You need to start very early to teach two languages
No, it’s never too early nor too late to get your child introduced to a second language. Unlike adults, children under the age of 10 find it easy to learn different languages. At an early age, kids have a flexible and open mind and are open to learning new things, including languages. So, even if you are the mom of a nine-year-old, it’s not too late to raise her bilingual.
5. Children soak in two languages without much effort
Though early exposure to different languages paves the path for easy learning, it doesn’t happen through osmosis! So, if your child is learning two languages, it’s good to have realistic expectations, consistency in teaching, and a structured pattern of training. Don’t forget to have a day-to-day conversation in multiple languages.
Smart ideas and strategies work best for incorporating bilingual skills in toddlers. You can do it through music, games, fun activities or general talking. Don’t ever let a bad myth ruin your child’s chances to learn a new skill.
Watch: How Do Babies Become Bilingual?
Infants are very capable – especially when it comes to languages! So you don’t have to worry about
- Plenty of studies have shown that right in infancy, babies can figure out the different sounds that are the results of different languages.
- Learning languages is an innate ability, much like learning how to grab or suck. They can start off quite early and do well too!