I'm sure everyone has seen a commercial or heard a discussion on raising kids from a very young age to be bilingual. While many of these DVD and CD sets are marketing and capitalizing on our desire for our kids to be the shining star of their school, they really do have validity. Our brains are wired to best absorb language before the age of 5 and still ready to take on language up until the age of 8. Yet of course we don't start learning a second language until our brains have closed the doors on language absorption! So it's not your fault that you have to hire tutors like me to help with your Spanish classes...it's really the school's fault for not introducing language sooner! More and more families and school systems are finally coming on board though and creating bilingual schools, or at least exposing youngsters to a second language, and I couldn't be happier! Until I end up jobless because all our children have become linguistic geniuses...uh oh.
I know I have touched on a bunch of different topics here and I really could go on and on, but long story short is to expose you babies, toddlers, munchkins, angels, and children below the age of 8 to language!!
Parents who only speak English - go ahead and buy the DVDs and CDs, find a bilingual school, or hire a second-language speaker to come to your home and expose your children to their language!
Parents who speak a second language - Use it!! Don't be afraid!! Your child will best learn by hearing the language spoken correctly and, much like their little brains learn to talk and walk without needing a book or YouTube tutorial, they will also learn to separate the two languages and differentiate amongst the meanings.
A lot of parents get nervous it will keep them from learning English very well or slow down their development. That is FALSE! While they may speak in a mixture of the two languages until they learn to fully identify and separate, this does not mean they are struggling in either language. A first grader who was raised in a bilingual household may not have as large of an English vocabulary right away, but you better believe that the vocab he/she has in a combination of the two languages is larger than any of his/her peers!
It is a fact that children who learn or are exposed to a second language at a young age are able to access and exercise parts of their brains that those who never learned or waited too long to learn can't use! They will be more equipped to absorb both languages and any new ones down the road. They will be more equipped to learn all those glorious educational facts in school. They will score higher on tests and just receive so many more golden educational nuggets through the exposure.
So it doesn't matter if you don't speak a second language, one of you speaks a second language, or your whole family speaks a second language...USE IT! Expose them to it! Don't do them the disservice of focusing only on English! Those baby brains are wired and ready to learn and grow and make wonderful neuro-electric connections. Neuro-electric connections what!? I’m glad you asked! It’s the electric pulses between brain nerves that fire when we are learning something new and the more we are exposed to that information the more permanent the connection becomes. Why do you think you don't have to think about walking or talking? Because you learned it and spent so much time with it that the electrical fire path made a permanent cerebral bridge in between some brain nerves! (Science tutors calm down I know my technical lingo is lacking here but sometimes we just crave the layman’s term!). So let those brains get the exercise they crave and raise a bilingual baby!!
Keep on learning! And message me for all you Spanish needs :)