When There is More Than One Language at Home

    Today many children grow up in homes where parents speak more than one language. Many parents wonder: is it good to teach my children a second language? Will it confuse them? Will it slow their development?

    Studies show that children can use what they learn in any language. There is no question that knowing more than one language gives children an advantage.


Tips for Raising Bilingual Children:

Start as early as possible. The younger the children, the easier it may be for them to learn a language. Sometimes children learning two languages learn fewer words in each language at first. But they will catch up by the time they are 4 or 5 years old.

Make learning fun. Do not punish or force children to learn another language. Use books, games, songs, poems and riddles.

 Children learn language best from someone who speaks it well. Speak to your children in your native language. Use the language you know the most. This way the children can keep the two languages separate.

Do not speak baby talk in any language. Take time to explain a word that your children do not understand.

Find playmates for your children that speak the same second language. They prefer to use the language of their playmates.

Remember, children learn a language by playing with it

This material is based upon work supported by the Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under special project number 91-ESPN-1-5169 .

Produced by the University of California's Spanish Broadcast and Media Services, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Myriam Grajales-Hall, coordinator.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More