Today I thought I’d use my hard earned degrees and talk about a serious passion of mine – foreign languages! For those of you that don’t know, I majored in Hispanic Studies and then got a Master of Arts in International Studies. Neither of which I am using as much as I’d like to at the moment, but this post was fun to write because it took me back to my “roots”. Also, I’m excited to announce a new company that I’ll be working with that offers an amazing cultural experience for your little ones – Little Passports! Keep reading for more!
Have you ever wondered how to teach your child a foreign language or if you should? Knowledge of more than one language is a great advantage in our increasingly global environment. It also encourages respect for, and interest in, other cultures.
Because languages are more easily absorbed when first learning to speak, children learn languages much faster than adults. During this time, children are expanding their vocabulary at a very fast rate and remembering most of what they hear even before they can say it out loud. In fact, in a bilingual household, if one parent exclusively speaks one language to their child and the other parent speaks a different language, the child will be able to speak both languages fluently. Children learn languages most easily before the age of eight, but the younger you start, the better. You also develop your accent within this timeframe. This is why, for example, someone that lived in England as a child, but then spent the rest of his or her life in the U.S., will most likely always speak with an English accent.
If you are interested in immersing your child in another language, go for it! Young children are enthusiastic learners! You may be pleasantly surprised by how your child enjoys practicing two languages. Don’t worry about the presence of more than one language being confusing. They will begin to recognize the unique cadence of each one.
If you yourself do not speak more than one language (or even if you do) you can expose your child to another language by enrolling them in a class, or using books, videos, and apps. Many daycares and schools start children early in Spanish, which you could try to supplement at home with additional books. Try teaching them a song, or a few words they already know well in a new language. There are also toys that teach bilingual letters, numbers, farm animals, and more. If you don’t know a foreign language either, it could be a great thing to learn together! Expose your child to different cultures by visiting areas where other languages are spoken, and take advantage of cultural activities happening in your own area.
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to get you started. The most important thing to remember is to be encouraging, and to show interest yourself. We are fortunate to live in a world rich with cultures and we should be open to teaching our children all about them.
Do you speak more than one language? Are you teaching your child another language? Tips and advice?
An older version of the above article was originally shared during my time as a contributing author at Mommy Hot Spot.
Partnership with Little Passports
Disclosure: The below portion of this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click and then purchase from the site during that shopping session, I will receive a portion of the sale. All opinions are my own.
I’m excited to be working with Little Passports, a monthly subscription for kids that takes them on global adventures! Little Passports delivers the world to your child’s doorstep. Imaginary penpals Sam and Sofia travel the world on their scooter, visiting a new country each month and send a package in the mail to your child.
Packages arrive full of goodies including a letter, souvenirs, activities and online games! Award-winning Little Passports has been featured in Parenting Magazine, Real Simple’s Holiday Gift Guide, the Wall Street Journal and many more!
Children and their parents absolutely love Little Passports! Their expanding line now includes a USA Edition in which Sam and Sofia visit two states each month.
Given my background and my own very early interest in other cultures, I’m especially interested in a product like this for my son. It will be something that we both look forward to receiving each month and it will be fun to incorporate more of the culture we’re learning about into our everyday life, like cooking and reading.
With Little Passports, there are three subscriptions to choose from.
Early Explorers, for ages 3-5:
World Edition, for ages 5-10:
And USA Edition, for ages 7-12:
As far as payment options, you can choose from monthly, 6-month, and 12-month subscriptions, starting at just $12.95/month!
Coming up, I’ll be sharing a review of one of the monthly boxes with my son. Our subscription is a gift for his upcoming birthday in March, so check back to see all the fun we have with it!