At birth, we are born with the ability to discriminate and repeat the sounds of any world language. As we begin to live and function within the language of our society, we slowly lose the need to produce these other sounds and the brain eventually reduces this ability. This is why we see many toys (such as Around the World See and Say), cartoons (Dora, Diego, & Ni Hao Kai Lan), and video series (such as Baby Einstein and the On Demand children’s programming) designed to introduce the sounds of other languages to children as early as possible with a goal of keeping this ability alive within the brain.
While American parents tend to be hesitant to introduce a second language before the child can actually speak English, research shows that benefits of doing so abound, including: increased academic abilities over multiple subject areas, easier recovery from brain injury, and delays in the onset of age-related dementia. The brain is an amazing thing. Exposure now, will certainly provide benefits later.
Interested in getting your child started in becoming bilingual? While TV shows, videos, and online programs are a great place to start, and can provide a base of knowledge serving as a springboard for acquisition, research shows that human interaction is important.
Worried? Hesitant? Read this article in Science Daily
Is your child learning a language? Let us know how it’s going! Share your story by posting a comment!
Coming Soon: Easy ways to introduce foreign languages to children