6 Reasons to Expose your Child to a Second Language ASAP
Many parents choose to wait until school begins to expose their children to a second language. Evidently, a child who is exposed to a second language, at any point, is a very lucky child indeed; however, parents should note that the earlier a child is exposed to multiple languages, the better. Here are 6 reasons to expose your child to a second language as soon as possible.
0-3 Years of age is a pivotal period of time for language acquisition.
Some believe that it is best to wait until a child has progressed with a first language to introduce a second; however, “Science indicates that babies’ brains are the best learning machines ever created, and that infants’ learning is time-sensitive. Their brains will never be better at learning a second language than they are between 0 and 3 years of age,” said Patricia Khul, co-director of I-LABS and a UW professor of speech and hearing sciences.” Studies have shown that infants pick up on speech patterns extremely early in life (even in the womb!) and so it is best to take advantage of their earliest years.
Introducing another language has many cognitive benefits.
Children who have been introduced to more than one language have been found to have many cognitive advantages. Bilingual children have been shown to have an increased ability to: focus on a task, discern important vs. non-important details, multi-task, memorize lists and sequences, and much more. Their ability to communicate in multiple languages is undoubtedly beneficial.
Introducing a new language allows you and your child to learn about, and become a part of, other communities.
Being able to speak another language opens the doors to meeting many more people and learning about multiple cultures. Whether it be the language classes you take together, the community centres found within your city, or the person next to you at the coffee shop; there’s no doubt that multiple languages opens many doors.
Languages have never been as easily accessible as they are today!
With today’s technology, you can easily access language learning tools online. In the past, if you didn’t know how to pronounce another language’s words, you might have been stuck until you found a native speaker to help you. With today’s technology, you have access to videos, podcasts, books, and games with a simple Google search. With Gadgets such as Google Home or Alexa, for example, you can simply ask “How do you say ____ in French” and you will hear the answer repeated back to you with the proper pronunciation. New programs or applications, such as Little Pim, can also be used to help introduce many different languages to your infants and toddlers.
You, as the parent, can practice/learn along with them.
There has never been a more relaxed way to learn a language than to learn along with your infant. Whether or not you are bilingual yourself, you can easily introduce a few words at a time and build upon your own knowledge at a pace that you enjoy. No one is there to grade you on your abilities and your little one will certainly not judge you!
To make the first day of school that much easier.
The first day of school can be a difficult time for both parents and children. It’s a new space filled with many new people and new routines. Although teachers and caretakers are often wonderful at helping with this transition, you are bound to feel much more “ready” if you’ve helped your little one to prepare in some way. If your child is going to enter an immersion or second language program, knowing that he or she will be comfortable with the language being introduced will make you that much more at ease with the transition to school.
What are you waiting for? Start that second language learning ASAP! If you are looking for help exposing your child to the French language, look no further than 123 Petits Pas. We offer opportunities for french education and bilingual mingling across the city of Ottawa. Let’s get you speaking en français!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Amy Maan is a certified French immersion teacher in the Ottawa area with an educational background in theatre & French as a second language. Offering weekly beginner French language classes to Parents & Infants and Parents & Toddlers, as well as a few parent workshops to support language learning at home.