Raising a Bilingual Child

A question parents often ask is How do I teach my baby two languages?

There is much research into bilingual language acquisition and its merits.  The main positive message is this-  it is excellent for the brain and may help protect against mental decline in old age.   Certainly in childhood, the benefits include an increased ability to ‘multi-task’ and think analytically. In addition it helps children to learn about the diversity in the world and the different cultures and people in it.

So how can you help your baby or young child?  Here are a few tips!

  1. You can only teach your child a language that you are fluent in.  This means that sending your toddler off to French classes when you dont speak a word of French will not work!  Also, if you only have a smattering of words in French, you may be teaching your child incorrect grammar resulting in a creole type of language.
  2. If one parent speaks 2 languages (eg Italian and English) and the other speaks only English, then your baby will identify Italian with that parent.  This will help him code switch between parents.
  3. All the traditional songs, nursery rhymes and books are an integral part of learning the language and the culture.  This will help baby.  Sometimes a grandparent may take on this role.  Find other speakers of the language in the community too.
  4. Dont mix the languages.  (Put the pollo in the chicken coop, per piacere).  Try to keep to one language in one setting to help your child learn which words belong to which language.  Sometimes families will have one-parent-one-language (mum English and Dad- Chinese).  Or you can also have one language at bathtime and then switch to the other language at mealtimes and so on.
  5. There is some evidence to show that children learning two languages may show some lag in their language milestones initially (due to the increased load) but they eventually catch up and the benefits far outweigh this initial lag.

If your child has this wonderful opportunity to learn more than one language, then encourage it!

IKEA & Speech Pathology

This is the first in our new series on how to use IKEA in Speech Therapy.

Why IKEA?

IKEA has a great range of affordable toys and other items that are ideal for using with young children.

It’s also really accessible to families making it a great way to incorporate ideas at home!

Playsounds Kit for Toddlers

Today I am going to make up a kit of playsounds to use with toddlers.  This is ideal for children who are just beginning to copy sounds/words.  You can use all these objects in playtime to make lots of different noises.  Remember to repeat the noises many times and praise your child when he/she tries to imitate you.

  1.  Finger Puppets  –

    Sounds you can say – rah!   sssssss,  meow,   woof,  tweet tweet

2.  Watering Can and Flowers

Sounds you can say –  pshhhhh (water),   “smell flowers”

3.  Train set

Sounds – choo choo!

4.  Cars

Sounds to make  – brrrrrrm,   beep!

5.  Bandaids for doctor play

Sounds to make – ow!

 

6.  Animal touch & feel book

Sounds to make – baaaa, meow

7.  Pop Up tent

Sounds to make – boo!

8.  Pots and Pans

Sounds to make – bang!  “hot” sounds,  yum!

 

A cheap and easy way to bring out a fun kit and help your child imitate sounds.  This is a vital first step in learning new words!

Tip 2 – First Words Series

 

tip-2

 

This is the second Tip in our series: First Words – 12 Ways to help your child learn to talk.  You can download the whole booklet here.

Why is it important?

Learning new skills require practice. When toddlers first learn words, they need to hear things repeated many times in order for it to make sense. Children with language delay need to hear it even more so choose games that have lots of repetition.

Want to learn more?  Download the sheet below.

Download

 

Playsounds

playsounds grid titlePlaysounds are sounds and noises that babies and toddlers make during playtime.  They include noises such as;

animal sounds ( “meow, woof” )

car noises ( ‘brrrrm”)

exclamations ( “uh oh!” )

and anything else that sounds symbolic and fun!

Making these noises during play or daily routines with your baby and toddler is helpful for learning language.  They often act as a bridge to copying words.  Use lots of sing song (intonation) in your voice too!  Watch how your baby looks at you when you do this as they are keyed into hearing all the ups/downs in your voice.

Looking for some ideas on how to incorporate this in your play?  Our 5 page worksheet will illustrate some ways you can do this at home.  Download it now.

Download

 

 

Tip 1- First Words Series

tip 1

This is the first Tip in our series: First Words – 12 Ways to help your child learn to talk.  You can download the whole booklet here.

Why is it important?

Sitting on the floor together means that you are more likely to be at your child’s level. Trying to play with your toddler on the floor whilst you are in a chair makes it harder to play properly.  You can join in and talk more easily when you are both playing together on the floor.

Want to learn more?  Download the sheet below.

Download