The time is here… your baby is growing and beginning to learn to function on their own: eating, walking, and most importantly, speaking. If deciding to raise your baby to be bilingual, there are countless ways to incorporate English into your everyday life that will help your child become introduced to and learn the language.
When teaching your child a second language, the earlier you start the better. It is important to know that you are the key to instilling the English language in your child. Whether through dedicating certain days of the week to speaking solely English, having one parent speak English and the other a second language, or another means of instruction, beginning as early as possible will benefit your child significantly.
There are several easy and fun ways to introduce your baby to English:
- Utilization of the internet
- Reading books and watching TV
- Repetition and imitation of parent
To begin, the internet is a useful and easily accessible source of information that can be often overlooked when introducing your baby to English. There is an abundant amount of information available to parents that can greatly aid the introduction and gradual teaching of English to your child. There are many websites dedicated to educating children English that include videos, songs, and more which makes learning English fun for your child.
Several of these sites include:
- Learn English Kids by the British Council, which offers advice to parents on methods to use when teaching your baby English. The website also includes videos, songs, games, and a myriad of information to help you and your child grasp English.
- English Club includes songs, visuals, and activities to assist your efforts in teaching your child English.
Books and Television
The visual or audio aspects of watching television or reading books will serve as a fun way for your baby to be introduced to English. Listening to TV shows can assist your child’s pronunciation of English words and phrases. Your child can also use the visualized aspects of watching TV or reading a book to match words to images and grasp English concepts more quickly, while learning in an enjoyable way!
Repetition and Imitation
It is important to remember that you play an essential role in introducing and teaching your child English. Repetition of lessons and practicing often is crucial for your child to develop English speaking skills. In addition, your child may learn from and imitate the English they hear you speak, as well as your attitude toward instructing English. That is why it is imperative to remain enthusiastic and motivational when teaching English, and encourage your child to ask questions and keep an open-mind. Make it clear that mastering a new language will take some time and that making mistakes is part of the journey. If these methods are kept in mind, your child will want to learn English and will have the confidence to accomplish such a challenging task.
Giving your child the opportunity to speak English as a second language will positively influence them in life. They will not only accumulate speaking and learning capabilities but can form and strengthen relationships with English speakers through keen communication. As a parent, you are giving your child the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop their skillset which will ultimately impact their life in a wonderful way.
Written by Caitlin Maire, an intern at Le Cicogne, an organization that assists parents in their search for the perfect babysitter for their child.