Two Languages By Two

Learning two languages by two

One of the  things I have dreamed of for my son is for him to learn a second language.  With a background in early childhood and studies into English as a new language learners, it is no surprise that I have a fascination with  language development in general.  My son is 18 months old right now and my goal is to have him speaking two languages by the time he is two.  That gives me 6 months to make it happen.

The struggle for me is that I don’t know a second language nor does my husband.  This makes things a bit trickier. I will be learning right beside my son as I hope to gain it as well.  How does one teach their child a second language when they don’t know one themselves?  I am not sure yet…but I will share my experiences in this series of posts!

Some people shy away from teaching children a second language to their young even if they themselves speak two languages for fear that they will confuse their child.  However, the benefits of learning a second language are huge.  According to an article from the Cornell Chronicle:

“Learning a second language does not cause language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit, which have been concerns in the past. In fact, according to studies at the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab (CLAL), children who learn a second language can maintain attention despite outside stimuli better than children who know only one language.”

Wait.  Did I read that correctly?  Learning a second language can actually increase their attention span?  Please tell me more!

The article goes on to say that “And the earlier that a child learns a second language, they say, the more likely the child will more quickly attain nativelike language proficiency.”

I highly recommend anyone that is interested in having their little one become bilingual to read this perfectly titled article “Learning a Second Language is Good Childhood Mind Medicine, Studies Find“.

My own experience learning a second language has not been great.  I took two years of French and two years of German in high school.  I currently can only speak a handful of phrases in German including:  “The cat ran away, ” and “The boy is big.”  Neither of these phrases are very helpful and not sure why I remember them.  I am hoping that my son will have a better experience than I hence why we are starting so early.

Need more motivation to teach your little one a second language?  Check out Kristina’s excellent reasons over at Planes and Balloons along with some helpful tips and tricks to get started.

For this experiment I will be attempting to learn Spanish myself as well as teach my son.  I am sure my husband will join in as well as he became fascinated with the language during our honeymoon to Punta Cana a few years back..  I do know that immersion can be a great way to learn a language so if someone wants to offer us a free trip to Punta Cana…that would be helpful!

The approaches we will be using to start off include:

  1.  Songs:  We will be listening to Spanish music that we have gotten from the library or YouTube to help us learn the language.  Music and rhymes can be a wonderful tool for learning any language.
  2. Video:  We will be watching short language learning videos that are aimed at young children.  A maximum of 30 minutes a day will be allowed for this method.
  3. Books:  Books will allow us to learn vocabulary as we have found some dual language books at our library.

If anyone has any suggestions or has previous experience with teaching their young child a second language I would love to hear about it.  Feel free to share in the comments below!  Don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on our language learning adventure!

Kayla is currently a stay at home mom taking some time off from teaching to learn, enjoy, and raise her son.  She is a former Birth to Three Early Interventionist who worked with children with developmental delays as well as coached parents and caregivers on strategies to encourage development.  She has now taken that passion and put it into her writing on Parenting Expert To Mom where she shares strategies to encourage learning in daily routines.