How to Teach Your Baby a Second Language
Let's be clear: teaching your child a second language does NOT mean that you or your child needs to be fluent in the second language.
Many members of the Little Persian community have expressed feeling intimidated because they do not know how to fluently speak the language.
Don't let that hold you back from getting started!
You may have a lot of questions and wonder if a second language is the right decision for your family. This article will address many questions parents may have, give resources and actionable steps to move forward teaching your baby a second language.
WHEN should I start teaching my baby a second language?
This is a really common question asked of Little Persian and the short answer is NOW.
Research shows that children as young as several months can differentiate sounds between two languages and develop attention skills that their peers in single language homes do not.
It is important to remember that there are two types of language skills: receptive language and expressive language. Children are taking in receptive language much sooner than they will ever utter a word or even a sound.
WHO can teach a baby a second language?
Anyone who is willing can help a baby learn a second language. Of course if you have someone in your life who is a fluent speaker, it would make sense for you to have that person in your baby's life on a regular basis. If that is not the case, simply find someone - it could be yourself, who is willing to learn alongside you baby.
WHAT should I teach my baby?
Just as many parents teach their child a small set of ASL signs to communicate basic needs, focus on the same vocabulary you are teaching your child in your majority language such as colors, basic body parts, and favorite foods.
Just mastering a little basic vocabulary will provide your baby a head start on a second language. Think of every word you teach your baby as a key to unlocking further learning and connection. It will be so much easier to advance with a second language as your baby matures if basic vocabulary is already mastered.
If you are a fluent speaker, the best thing to do is to immerse your child in the second language!
WHERE can I find a community?
Search for a language school in your area. A language school is a fabulous way to build connection with other families in your area who may share similar values regarding language and culture.
FaceBook and Instagram have plenty of community interest pages that will connect you with others who share similar language and cultural goals. This can be a great way to connect, learn and be inspired.
Good old fashioned networking works! Native speakers are often eager to help someone expressing interest in learning their language. Even others who are learning the language may want to spend time together - especially if they have children. Invest in the relationships that can serve both as friendships as well as language exposure.
WHY should I teach my baby a second language?
There are many good reasons why people teach their baby a second language: connection to a rich heritage, brain benefits and building self-esteem to name a few. The reason you may choose to do this will be personal but if it is important to you, you will find the resources and support around you if you look for it.
Find what works for you!
You can teach your baby a second language and it doesn't have to be all in. Your child will still get to reap some of the wonderful benefits of a second language. It will only benefit your baby to try, so do what you can, when you can. Best of luck!