Teaching baby to be multilingual


The first five years of a child’s development are the most important. Right now my 22 month old daughter picks everything up in a heart beat. The words and actions she does amazes me. Often she will say something that I didn’t even know she had learned. I’ve never talked as much as I do now, I talk to Emery about everything that’s going on and what we are doing. It’s important to use as many words as you can and explain your actions so that they understand and pick them up, after all its important to remember that they are learning your language (primary for us is English), for the first time and all the do’s and dont’s. At my daughters age she’s able to say a lot of new words she just hears for the first time, I love that she is putting words together into sentences. While I avoided saying or having her hear the word “no” for a long time, she now knows it and uses it to express herself. Even when its defiant I cant help but like the fact she knows what she wants.

When  Emery was 6 months old I started to teach  her American Sign Langauge as another way to communicate when she couldn’t say a certain word. I read somewhere that the “terrible two’s” is due to the fact that the child is frustrated and can’t communicate what they’re saying or want to say. I picked up Signing Illustrated to teach myself and my daughter. This book was easy to learn from, its describes the actions and easy ways to remember them. Currently Emery knows about 30 signs before the age of 2, and those are just basic ones. She’s able to pick them up just after a few times of me teaching her. I’m able to either just sign her what im telling her and she knows what the sign is and will say it aloud or I will say the sign as I sign it. A few words she says sound the same, this is one example where signing comes into play. I ask her a few times what she’s trying to say in sign (if I think its something she knows or is trying to say). Another way to make it fun for a child is to buy a dvd. Theres a lot of sign dvd’s out there that make it fun to learn. Emery loves to sign, there’s time she just starts signing and I realize she telling me emotions or when she’s using the restroom she’ll ask me, “more” in sign if she should pee more. It makes me happy to see her using the tools I’ve given her to use.

In addition to learning English and ASL we are teaching her a few things in Spanish. My husband and I are both Mexican with family members that speak spanish. Not only for this reason would we like Emery to learn the language but why not have her  learn as much as she can now while its fun, easy and can benefit her later in life if we use the words she learns now. We purchased a Spanish DVD that’s easy to learn with, I was able to pick up a few words while I cleaned up around the house. Before this movie I taught Emery keys and lights, I didn’t know many spanish words before having her, but thanks to baby books & dvd’s I can teach her the english version (once she knows it well) and then try to switch it on her telling her, “in spanish apple (say it in english then sign it) is manzana”.

Theres nothing wrong with bettering yourself and your child by learning as much as you can. If you feel like 3 languages is too many then just teaching your child your primary langauge the best you can is awesome. Manors is a huge thing for me, I grew up having to speak correctly and having to use manors with everything. Just remember like anything else saying things over and over is key.


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