I Want To Teach My Child A Second Language...BUT…...
How good is it when you have a ‘lightbulb moment’ or something just clicks inside of you and you realise, you know what….I GOT THIS.
Suddenly that big, hard thing you were afraid of / procrastinating on / or just downright confused about doesn’t seem that overwhelming anymore.
THAT’S what this article is allllll about mama.
Getting past the reasons you haven’t started teaching your child a second language yet.
Even though you know all the crazy awesome benefits a second language can bring and you’d LOVE to help them learn it…...but….
Today we’re gonna talk about those ‘buts’.
I’m going to address some of the really common (and valid!) reasons that stop parents teaching their child a second language.
Here are the 4 I hear the most and how to overcome them…
I’m Not A Native Speaker
This is a biggie!
Parents worry that they don’t know the new language they want to introduce to their child well enough, or at all.
They think their own language skills (or lack thereof) will end up confusing their kids and make the whole experience harder than it needs to be.
I’ve said it before (probably into the hundreds of times now!) but I’ll say it again.
Please don’t let not being a native speaker of the language stop you teaching your child!
I’m not saying it’s going to be super easy breezy. Teaching your kids a second language takes work…. even for native speaking parents.
BUT it is TOTALLY possible.
I know from my own experience and those non-native speaking mamas who’ve joined The Cultured Kid programs.
I’ve written more on how non-native parents can teach their child a new language in this post which I recommend checking out, but let me give you a few pointers here too.
Incorporate video learning
Video lessons are life (and language!) savers for non-native parents.
Your child will get exposure to the native tongue; hearing the sounds and accents through video lessons with native speakers.
It really takes the pressure off you feeling like you have to pronounce and speak everything perfectly; which you totally don’t, by the way, but I know it’s something that can hold parents back.
Incorporating video lessons with your own lessons is a nice balance to bring exposure to the native tongue.
Consider hiring a native language teacher for a few lessons a week
This may or may not be an option for all families, but if it’s possible, why not hire a language teacher for an hour or so a week to take your kids through some lessons?
A native babysitter might be another option. They can take your child through some more informal lessons and unstructured play in the native tongue next time they’re on babysitting duty.
I Don’t Have Time
Those times when you JUST. NEED. CAFFEINE and wouldn’t mind 5 minutes to yourself to drink a cup (or 3) of it. Too much to ask?
Ha. I think any mama with little ones knows the answer to that
When even taking a few minutes out for yourself seems like mission impossible, it’s no wonder ‘I don’t have time’ is another reason many mamas don’t teach their kids a second language.
And I totally, totally get it.
But, there are a few hacks time-poor mamas out there (yep, I see everyone raising their hand) can use to introduce a new language.
The basis of these two tips is turning daily activities (that you’d be doing anyway!) into learning opportunities.
Turn car time into lesson time with an app
Car time can be transformed into teaching time…...without you having to do any of the teaching. Win.
Downloading a language app to the phone or iPad is a great way for kids to learn during a car trip, even quick ones. You could make it a bit special too, like they’re only allowed to use the app while in the car so it becomes a treat.
I’m suggesting the car here but really with an app kids can be learning wherever you go. This is why I’ve recently made all The Cultured Kid language resources available via the free Kajabi app for Cultured Kid Club members.
All you need to do is head over to and download the free Kajabi app (Kajabi is the platform I use to hold the entire The Cultured Kid language curriculum) then go ahead and sign in with the email you use for The Cultured Kid language lessons, and that's it!
Introduce new words during daily bath and meal routines
Young kids go through the same routines every day; getting dressed routines, meal routines, bath routines, nap routines, bedtime routines.
Life is just one big series of routines for mamas with little ones! These are the perfect opportunities to introduce new words and phrases, related to the routine, without having to ‘find’ any extra time for a lesson.
Mealtimes are ideal to introduce the words for different foods, you could focus on different clothing items during getting ready routines or words like water, toy, and soap at bathtime.
Keep a few flashcards or the words written down where you go through the routine (maybe pop them inside a plastic sandwich bag for bathtime to avoid water damage!) as a prompt to go through the words.
I Have No Clue Where To Start!
The good news is, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to get started.
My only advice would be - set a language fluency goal and keep it simple to begin!
You could get started by:
- Choosing 3 - 5 new words to introduce during 1 daily routine, as I mentioned above.
- Play music or nursery rhymes in the new language so your child becomes used to hearing new words and develop an ear for the structure of the language.
- Create a character (a stuffed toy, or puppet) who only ‘speaks’ in the language and use it to introduce new words.
- If your child has a favourite book, see if you can find a version in the new language. This way the story is familiar, but the words are new!
Language programs will also give you a structure and starting point to cut out overwhelm.
It’s exactly why I designed The Cultured Kid language programs the way I did.
The programs give mamas guidance on getting started but are flexible enough to incorporate the lessons as your schedule allows!
My Child Is Still Learning English, A Second Language Would Confuse Them
This is a really common belief that puts the brakes on many mamas teaching their babies or toddlers a second language.
They don’t want to mess up the process of their child learning English, which is totally understandable.
But research shows this isn’t actually the case.
Early childhood is the best time to learn a second language and usually children who are exposed to two languages from birth grow up to be native speakers of both.
It’s true that learning two languages is more complex for your child than focusing on a single one, which means there is the possibility of some early delays or differences with their monolingual playmates.
But that’s only over the short term. In the long term, any early delays won’t affect your child’s language abilities and, in fact, give them a serious edge over the kids that only speak a single language.
I really hope this article can help you overcome any of the common blocks that have stopped you getting started.
Here’s to taking that first step!