Toddler-hood has arrived and your super keen for your little one to start talking!
In English and in French. Or whatever language you’ve got your bilingual heart set on.
Hearing those first words will make your heart bubble up with joy and you think you’ll **never get tired of hearing them say “Mama, Mama!”
(**ahhhhh.... how quickly that could change)
Of course, in the absence of real problems, your little one is going to learn to talk eventually but there are lots of ways you can encourage their bilingual language development day by day.
And nope, you won’t mess with your toddlers head by introducing a second language while they’re still learning English! This is actually the BEST time to do it.
I’ve put together these 8 quick tips I hope you find helpful to encourage your toddler to speak another language or if you need some practical tips you can download my starter guide.
When does the talking action begin
When I first started teaching my kids French, I made a bunch of mistakes.
Which is kinda expected because hey, I didn’t really know what I was doing back then... and I also wasn’t a native speaker.
All I really knew at the time was this:
I want to give my kids the amazing life skills that come with learning a second language at a young age!
I had fails and I had wins. I had good days where I was thrilled about the progress my kids were making and days of despondency when I felt like a big failure. What the heck was I doing?!
Today I want to share with you some common mistakes that parents make when raising bilingual kids. My hope is these ‘what not to do’ tips will help your experience as a language teaching mama be the best it can be!
This is a big one for non-native speaking parents who are raising bilingual kids.
Reading and speaking with your children is great but if you don’t...
“To have a program that’s already been set out for me, just made it so much easier!”
Meet Erin. She’s an amazing Mum of two kiddos - Luca and baby Giselle - and a member of the Cultured Home Program.
A non-native speaker who wants her kids to connect with their heritage.
Erin comes from German heritage but isn’t a native speaker. Her father never spoke German at home so Erin missed out on learning as a child and found it a challenge to learn as an adult.
She didn’t want to make the same mistake with her own kiddos!
She wanted them to understand more about their heritage and also be able to speak another language - for all the awesome reasons we know.
From zero interest in German, to loving his lessons!
Before joining The Cultured Home program, Erin struggled to introduce German to Luca at home, he just wasn’t interested.
Now? It’s a totally different story - hooray!
After just two weeks of the program, Luca was loving...
Music is powerful stuff.
We all know what it feels like when a tune gets stuck in your head.
You know, when you can’t recall what you ate for dinner 5 minutes ago but you can somehow remember all the lyrics to Britney’s greatest hits from 2001 ...even when you totally can’t stand them.
Rhythm and lyrics are master memorisation tools.
And it just so happens music is an effective and easy (yay for easy!) way to begin introducing your kids to a new language - without the overwhelm.
I had the pleasure of chatting with talented bilingual mama Ana Calabrese, founder of Spanish Plus Me who is all about teaching kids a second language through singing, moving and having fun.
She composes her own songs to teach Spanish with the length, amount of vocabulary, and movement component that makes her language classes fun, interactive and super effective.
I’m excited to share a few thoughts, inspired by our chat, on how and why to use music to introduce a...
There’s the right time for many things in life, mama.
The right time take down your Christmas decorations (sometime before March)
The right time to eat a perfectly ripe avocado (blink and you’ll miss it)
The right time to wear yoga pants (which is actually all the time...whether you do yoga or not)
There’s also the right time to start teaching your child a language…..and it’s right now!
In fact, cognitive scientists have even gone and figured out an exact window of time during which your child’s capacity for language learning is at its peak.
The Perfect Window Of Opportunity - According To Science
Your child is unique, all our children are!
But what they do have in common is an innate ability to learn, learn, learn. Those minds are like little sponges and cognitive scientists have identified there is definitely a key window of opportunity to learn a new language.
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...
“What if my child never really ‘gets’ the language thing; if they don’t become fluent? Will it be a waste of time?”
I get you. It’s a totally valid question.
And my answer is this -
It’s SO worth the effort of teaching your child a new language even if they never become fluent.
It will never be a waste of time.
(And who said fluency HAD to be the ultimate language goal for your child anyway? That’s up to you Mama!)
Learning a new language will enrich your child’s life in many ways, regardless of their level of proficiency. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits!
‘Divergent thinking’ is our problem-solving ability - our mind’s capacity to come up with different solutions when faced with a problem.
Whether your child can't find his math homework or he left his lunch at home, good problem-solving skills will help him cope with these daily...
I’m mean, moving beyond the “I want my child to learn a second language” idea.
You can start there, for sure, but as a goal, it's a little too vague.
Getting really clear on what you want to achieve - the level of language fluency you ultimately want for your child - is super important because;
I’d love to walk you through some tips on creating goals for your child’s language learning journey to help set you and your kids up for success!
The Big Vision Goal
This is the level of fluency you’d love to see your child reach in the long run.
Setting a big vision goal will give you an idea of how much language exposure your child will need and the work you’ll have to put in to get there.
I love to see my kids playing!
It’s so fun to see how creative they are and hear their ideas as they learn new concepts about the world around them.
In the past though, the play thing was a bit of a mystery to me as a parent.
I used to struggle with the idea of sitting down with my kids when they were little and working out what play looks like. I felt really in over my head about what play should be.
I suspect there are a lot of mums and dads out there who are in the same boat!
Play is actually a really important part of teaching kids a new language. I want to share with you simple tips on how to help your child get the most from play time, whether it’s to support language learning, boost their creativity or learn social skills.
I sat down with my friend Amy from Playful Little Learners - she’s a champion of kids learning through play who has SO much wisdom in this area!
Amy taught English in China without understanding a single word of Mandarin, she...
So, you want to teach your kids a language?
But... there’s just one little thing…..
You’ve never spoken a word of the language in your life.
Well, except for maybe those hilarious Dora imitations you do for the kids or a handful of words back in college...
Or maybe you grew up with a second language at home but as an adult, your grasp of the language has slipped away.
You want your kids to have a connection with your incredible heritage but knowing where to start feels totally overwhelming.
I want to help you discover that teaching your kids a language - even if you don’t speak it - is SO rewarding, super fun and, with a few insightful tips, nowhere near as hard as you think.
You don’t need to be able to speak the language to teach it! You can learn WITH your kids!
These tips are inspired by my friend Aileen Passiello-Mcaleer a bilingual Venezuelan-Italian mama and co-founder of MamaLingua.
Aileen grew up in a...
Simply fill out your first name and email address and within a few minutes you can be playing your way to fluency with your little ones!