Language is a skill, and there is no harm in learning more than one. Expert says a child can learn up to 7 languages till 3-4 years. I certainly had no idea about it earlier. But now I believe it.
Mostly, we inherit the first language from our mother tongue, because we hear our parents speaking in the same language. A language is spoken basically to be understood and to make others understand. But now, it has changed in terms of where you are living.
Kids are faster in learning everything and same applies for languages.
My little one knows four languages now. He is fluent in English and Hindi( National language of India), both in speaking and understanding. He understands Oriya(local language of Orissa, India) and Dutch(local language of Netherlands), and speaks word by word.
I started with this idea and the fact that we stay in a foreign land, speaking in English first, would help him to communicate with others and make friends. He will be social and can feel good about himself. It helps when a child is understood. I know, for many I don’t sound patriotic, but it was the priority which I decided. And I am not guilty about it at all. So, we chose the first language to be English for our little one. For that, we both started speaking in English with him but with each other its always the Hindi language. So, he would listen to our conversation, all the time. Around two and a half years he was fluent in English. Then we started speaking a bit of Hindi language with him, like, translating English in Hindi, whenever possible. So, the understanding of the Hindi language was there but the speaking part developed when he turned 3 years old. We would read storybooks both in English and Hindi during bedtime to build speaking and understanding of the languages. And now he is fluent in English and Hindi.
It was always a wish in me, that someday our little one would speak in Hindi as well.
So, when he surprised me first that he can communicate in our National language Hindi, it was such a proud feeling.
To be honest, let me tell you I didn’t know that even listening to a language will help a child in understanding it. But, luckily I learned from my experience and here I am sharing with you all.
To my surprise, I came to know that he also understands the oriya language (my mother tongue). Now, he has started speaking word by word now. So, when I talk to my parents and Grandparents, I speak in Oriya and also involve my little one in the conversation. From, there he gets it.
Though the full credit goes to him and his will power.
Then, I witness that kids can learn many languages at a young age. So, we decided to put him in Dutch school. And now he understands the Dutch language and speaks, at least to be understood.
When we talk to our parents and in-laws, we encourage and involve our kid to talk to his Grandparents and also our Grandparents, if possible. It helps in family bonding and healthier communication. Grandparents are the best!! Your kids will be healthier, happier with their, and your, love and care. Earlier, people used to live in a joint family. Now, as the job demands, lifestyle needs, we live accordingly. Mostly it happens to be a nuclear family. So, it becomes hard at times to communicate with the kids all the time, if both the parents are working. When our elders say that the more you talk to a child, the more they learn. They are absolutely right! This way it helps in family bonding, healthier communication and fluency in more than one language.
We also have books for all the three languages -English, Hindi, and Dutch, which we read as per our child’s interest.
Sanskrit words play a great role in learning, pronunciation skills, etc.
so, every morning we play classical songs, hindi bhajans, other bollywood songs. My little one memorizes each of them and also chants the sanskrit mantras.
So, here are the tips that worked in our favor:
* First prioritise the language on the basis of your needs.
* Talk to the children in the language you want them to be the first priority to help them in their social life and other relevant factors.
* If it’s other than your mother tongue, teach the child his/her mother tongue after that.
* Encourage the child to talk to their Grandparents. If it’s possible, make it everyday routine in case you are staying far.
* Reading books in different languages of your’s and the children ‘s interest.
* Talk to them whenever you can.
Hope this helps. Let me know, your experience as well. Enjoy speaking and listening to your little ones!
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Love & Hugs