Chatterfun News

Having Your Child Learn a Language Other Than the Native Language

June 20, 2013:

In the 1970s, it was commonly assumed that having a young child learn more than one language is wrong. The child is bound to get confused and will not be able to converse in either of the two languages. Over the years, the concept has changed.

With many inter-racial couples, children are bound to learn more than one language at home. It is now regarded as a positive development and opens the child’s mind to many different opportunities. Children learn a culture that is different from their native culture. It also helps them in future aspects like the career they choose and can even help in molding their interests.

Parents always want the best for their children and they also like it if their children have more than one option. This is why most parents are now pushing their children to learn another language along with the native one. They know that children are fast learners and after seeing the different cognitive benefits of being bilingual, they are letting their children experience a different language.

Parents should not worry about interacting with children in the second language. Children are smarter than we think. Even if you are not that fluent in the second language, it is okay. Children have a way of learning and they will develop the right grammar skills even if they are not taught.

Children develop familiarity with a language even before they turn six months old. Children under three years of age have the ability to develop both languages simultaneously and they are equally comfortable with both languages. Children develop separate language systems for both languages and therefore are able to understand both languages equally and without any confusion.

As children grow older, their ability to naturally develop another language diminishes. Over the years, children who are exposed to a single language are so engrossed in it that they have difficulty developing the grammatical skills for the new language. It does not matter what method is used to teach the child a new language, as long as it is introduced at an early age, the child will be able to comprehend and adapt to the language.

If the child is not exposed to the second language on a daily basis, parents can choose a software program or academic course, depending on which of the two the child will respond to quickly. However, parents are advised to learn the language also so that they can communicate with the child in that language. If parents do not speak the second language, it is best to have your child learn a language that he/she can access outside the class. For example, it you reside in an area with a lot of French people around, it is best to have your child learn French rather than Spanish. This way the child can communicate in French with these people and can develop the language the same way he/she develops the native language.