Bilingual Babes: Teach Your Child A Second Language

When Mom or Dad Is Bilingual

The only way a child can truly master a second language is if she is frequently around someone who speaks it fluently. Here are some things to remember in a bilingual household.

  • Try "one person, one language." It's helpful to have one adult speak only the second language to your child so she doesn't get just pieces of it, says Dr. Erika Levy.
  • Expect minor mix-ups. It's natural for a child to confuse the word order or use words from both languages in the same sentence. He'll quickly learn to separate the languages.
  • Don't underestimate her progress. Even though many people think learning two languages causes speech delays, that is not the case. Your little one might say fewer English words than other kids her age, but if you add in the words she knows in her second language, her total number of words will probably be more than that of her peers.

Play and Learn

When you shop for bilingual toys, games, and CDs, make sure the words are spoken clearly and by a native speaker with a proper accent. Your child will have a fiesta learning a new language with these.

  1. Chicco Talking Farm ($30) Help your little one learn animal names, sounds, colors, and numbers in English and Spanish.
  2. Language Littles Dolls ($35) They speak in both English and a second language -- there are ten languages to choose from.
  3. Leapfrog Learn and Groove Counting Maracas ($15) These musical maracas introduce Spanish numbers, colors, and vocabulary.
  4. Sing & Learn Italian With Professor Toto ($30) This line of books, CDs, and DVDs also offers versions in Spanish, French, and German.

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