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Linguaholic

Should parents start teaching their toddlers a second language?


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If you check out the sites for toy manufacturers, you will see they are focusing on electronics. Tablets and other gizmos exist for toddler. It seems to be a way to get them prepared for the high tech world they will grow up to live in.

Should the same be done in regards to language?  The world is getting smaller and most people can't hide within their own culture. Maybe proper parenting should involve exposing toddlers to a second language.

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I don't have children myself but when I do I would definitely look towards teaching them another language whilst they were young.

I think that at a young age children are much better at picking up and learning a language and that is definitely something which would assist them later in life. Learning languages early I also think does help children pick up languages later in life as a lot of languages do have some similarities.

I do think that quite a lot of children already do get exposed to a second language from either their parents, school and peers. Even children's television like Dora the Explorer aims to expose young children to another language.

It gives children so many more options when they grow up too if they would like to visit or move to other countries, they would have a much easier time there with knowledge of the language.

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Yes, children have it easier when it comes to learning new languages.  If me and my boyfriend ever get married and have children, we'd actually like to teach our children to speak 3 different languages: Dutch, english and spanish.

Our children will have dutch as their mother language, as a second language they will have english and as a third one spanish. We plan to teach them spanish and english actively while they grow up, no need to work on the dutch, because they will be using it and hearing it every single day.

You could say we already have a very structured plan ;)

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Really there's no reason NOT to do this. The difficulty is when neither parent is a native speaker of the language since it's really hard to force yourself to consistently use the language with the child. Additionally, while some people think teaching their child a second language involves simply having them learn colors, animal names, etc. in the target language, real functional language use like come here, take it, What do you want to eat? cannot be neglected--and that's the difficult one to use and ingrain.

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I believe children should be taught a second language when they are 5-6 years old. During these ages, they will be able to absorb well what is being taught. Under 5 years, kids would still not be focused. In our country, children learn English our second language at 5-6 years old, too. :)

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My best friends sister actually wrote her masters degree paper about this subject, about teaching toddlers a second language. And to make matters even more interesting she tested it out, on her own baby girl. She started the test while the kid was 13 months old. She would speak to her in her native language and English as well.

Its showing amazing results nowadays. She long done with her masters degree but she didn't stop with it, and the girl is now 2 and a half or so and she speaks both languages amazingly good, to the level where she sometimes doesn't even know that shes speaking two languages since its so natural for her now. Is sort of funny to hear her talk and i noticed a lot of people that don't know the background story just get confused when they hear her talk.

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I don't know if most parents are willing or qualified to teach their kids languages, but one thing is for sure, if they are fluent in more than one language they should talk to them in those languages, the kids with learn through the example.  :ninja:

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They should if they feel like, I believe it's a wonderful thing do. Moreover, it's easier to learn a language when a child is still a kid.

When I was 11 my mother gave birth to my immediate younger brother, and we(his siblings and parents) communicated with him with only English language which isn't our mother tongue. By the time he(my younger brother) was over a year he could speak the English language, and by the time he was above two years old he could speak our tongue properly(he couldn't speak it properly before due to low usage of the language).

At some point he could speak English verbally than I could since he was using the language more than I was.

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Parents should definitively teach their children another language at a young age. Both of my two languages from my childhood, English and Chinese, are deeply ingrained in me and I can use them fluently. As children grow older, their schedules are more and more filled, and it becomes increasingly difficult to find the time and energy to learn another language.

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I don't know if I would go to the extent of saying that proper parenting should include introduction to a second language, but I do think that it is a great idea.

I know some Spanish (I'm not fluent) and I did start introducing both of my children to the language from a young age. Then, when my son started school, I had the option of enrolling him in a Spanish immersion program. He is in his second year now and I know that by starting that when he was five years old that he will be fluent in his second language by the time he starts middle school.

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I think that is a great idea and I kind of regret that I only studied english since childhood.

It is always awesome to see little children from multicultural families who easily speak 3 languages.

I saw some children like that and have to admit i was a little jelous at their amazing ability to learn.

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I forgot to say..

however amazing that could be for a child, I think it would be also kind of awkward to speak with your child in a second language all the time.

My moms coworker taught his son english by speaking solely english to him from day 1. And it's a bit weird when even now, when the son is all grown up they speak english to eacother.

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  • 1 month later...

I think it is a good idea to teach your toddlers a second language if you speak that language also. Small children are fast learners when it comes to learning language because they haven't yet possessed their own so it will be necessary to know that language as you'll only get lost as the child's learning progress.

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As long as it's not strictly enforced and the toddler has a choice as they get older whether or not to continue with it, I'd say go for it. I also think it'd be more effective if the parent also spoke the language as well, because yes children learn very quickly but they also forget things fast if they don't get the practise.

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I wouldn't teach my children a second language if I had any. Although English is an exception because almost all Filipinos are fluent English speakers and that competition in an early age is a good thing for children as it was the case for me.

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Children do learn languages more easily. It's good to start them young and as long as you keep on conversing with them using both the first and second language, they'll learn both languages in no time. I learned French as a toddler, unfortunately, since we lived in France at the time, I didn't get to practice my native language. When we returned to the Philippines, I had forgotten the Filipino language and had to start all over again. Most children here are taught English and they learn to speak it well so it seems that teaching two languages early is quite effective.

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I think it's a great idea. They say kids pick it up a lot faster than adults do. It can really benefit them later in life, so I definitely think it's great to teach kids second languages while they're still young.

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Should parents teach their toddlers a second language? Absolutely.

I grew up in Canada, which has two official languages. When I was in elementary school I had to take French classes up until Grade 6. After Grade 6, you were allowed to choose whether, or not, you wanted to continue learning French, choose another language or not learn another language at all.

I chose not to learn another language until I was in high school. Boy, was that a mistake. If I had continued to learn French, learning Spanish would have been that much easier. I don't believe I'd be struggling with Spanish like I am now, at age 34.

Younger children pick up on languages so much easier than adults. If the opportunity is there, for a toddler to learn another language definitely teach them it! A person with a second language has, so, many more opportunities later in life. Being able to teach a child when they are young, while they are sponges, is ideal. I wish I was wasn't so naive when I was younger.

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