Bilingual Kids

This week features an interview with Tom and I about the languages we use at home. You can listen to it here.

The following video is a very interesting study on bilingual kids and is full of vocabulary that is useful for talking about learning language.

Bon jour. Hola. Bon jour.

What could be more charming than having child who speaks a foreign language?
Whether it's French, Spanish, German, or whatever it is. Being bilingual is a skill that will reap many benefits as you child becomes an adult. From traveling abroad, to learning new cultures, the possibilities are endless. Hi I'm Sharon Elcock from parent's TV and I'm going to show you what some of the benefits are to having a child who speaks a second language.

The children can learn in a natural way without accent because I am speaking with strong accent because I learned English as an adult. But the children, they learn without any accent, without any barrier and without any problems of expression. They just talk, they don't think about, "I have to learn a new language. They just learn."

(Speaking in Italian)

When you know a second language, you know a second culture. It means that you can also see your own culture in different eyes.


So they don't think, "It's an Italian class, I have to learn this class. No, they just play with us in a natural way. The teacher, what they do that is important is to repeat very slowly in Italian each word showing a flashcard so the child can connect the image with the word.

My name is Neil Baker. I'm the father of Robert Baker, a 3 year old who comes here on occasion. It's not only important to me, but it's important to both my wife and I that Robbie be bilingual. First of all, because that that seems to be the way the world is evolving. It's going to be a bilingual multi-faceted world.

My wife is native Italian. She came here from Parma. Her family, all of her family is still here in the Northern Italy area. My parents, my family is from New York. And so we're trying to mesh the both worlds.

I always speak with him in Italian and I did since he was born. He started to take Italian classes last fall because I started to realize that he had to know that not only mommy speaks Italian and not only people in Italy speak Italian.

There are some families who have caretakers who speak a second language. Perhaps grandma or a foreign speaking nanny can get your child started early.

I have two daughters, Sofie who's five and Cici who's almost three. (Speaking French)
Hiring a nanny who speaks a foreign language became a priority after we started taking the classes here. And the kids like them so much and they really had a lot of fun and I thought, you know, we should really enforce it more at home. Because I don't speak another foreign language fluently and because my husband doesn't, we both really wanted our kids to have that skill. We thought it was really important and one of the few practical things that kids can learn and it's so important for them to start early.


We present everything as a playgroup with games and songs and toys and visual aids. So children think that they are just coming to play and actually that is the best way for them to learn because they are emotionally engaged. The idea is very simple, you have to compare the brain of the child to some kind of soft wax which can be imprinted with the sounds of any language. But little by little the wax becomes kind of cold and hard and it becomes more difficult to learn other languages.

If classes aren't an option in your area, there are also language learning tools that you can purchase for your home.

Professor Toto is a multimedia language educational series with DVDs and CDs and books to teach languages at home. With professor Toto they are going to learn the basics, not just words but full sentences. Like, "hello my name is..." "I'm four years old" "I go to school" and we learn the colors, the parts of the body, counting, the alphabet, all the basics. You have to engage children emotionally. That's very important. Speak to their heart. Make them laugh. I always say that children remember the words that make them happy.

As you can see, if you want your children to be bilingual, there are many options available. From language classes, to foreign relatives and caretakers, to language DVDs. Remember it's never too early to start teaching your child a second language.

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