If you’re a parent, then you know how quickly kids learn. One minute they’re saying only mommy and daddy, and the next they’re running around speaking in full sentences. A child’s mind is literally like a sponge during this time, they’re learning, watching and trying to imitate everything that goes on around them. For this reason, it’s a great time to think about teaching your child a second language.
If Possible…Learn a New Language Early
More than any other time in our lives, people have the easiest time learning a new language or other skills when they’re young. A child’s mind, during this time, is already busy learning the language being spoken around them by their parents, brothers or sisters; as a result, it’s very easy for the mind to learn another one during this time too. As with all things, proficiency comes with practice and experience. The important thing will be that they will know the basic vocabulary and will be able to build on it in the years ahead.
Why Learn a Second Language At All?
Some may ask why they should take the time to learn a second language at all. A generic answer to this would probably be to say that knowledge is never wasted, and that learning something new is never a waste of time. A more practical answer, would be to say that times are changing quickly and knowing a second language could make a big difference in your child’s future; 15 to 20 years from now, it might even make the difference between their getting a job over another candidate.
The world is quickly becoming a much smaller and more integrated place. Depending on what area of the country you live in you may have already started to see some of the signs of this. Billboards, advertisements and product packaging at some grocery stores are no longer in just one language, they’re in two or more languages. If you take a look at many of the school districts around the country, you’ll see that something is happening there too. Dual language programs for Pre-K and Kindergarten age children and the primary grades are quickly being added or are in the development stages in many places.
In much the same way that computers, cell phones and other technology slowly entered into our lives 30 years ago, bilingualism is entering into our lives now; and in 15 to 20 years it’s likely to be the norm rather than the exception across the country. Taking the time to teach your children a second language now will give them a distinct advantage as they grow older.
I Don’t Speak A Second Language. How Can I Teach My Child?
If you don’t speak a second language and are wondering how you can possibly teach your child you don’t have to worry. Many publishers and toy manufacturers have realized the change that is slowly taking place and have begun producing bilingual children’s books, storybooks, audio book CDs, big books and toys for this new market. Even kid shows like “Dora the Explorer” are out there now teaching children how to speak more than one language. The point is that, with these types of educational products they’ll begin to see, hear and use the words of the new language you’re trying to teach them in addition to their primary language; that they’ll learn both languages simultaneously.
As the old saying goes “Knowledge is Power”. By taking the time to teach your child a second language now, you’ll be giving them an edge not only for their future careers, but in their daily lives as well. This is the Dual Language advantage.