Bilingual books help toddlers learn a second language.
The best time to teach your child to speak a second language is during the toddler years, according to The Linquist List, an online international linguistics community. During these years, they are free from most other forms of education; therefore, learning languages comes more naturally. Teaching your child to speak Spanish is a valuable skill that he will be able to use for the rest of his life — in education, personal communication and one day, in the business world.
1Cuddle with your toddler before bedtime and read books with Spanish and English words in it. “Dear Zoo,” by Rod Campbell, has pages with flaps that your child can lift to identify animals in both English and Spanish words. Another book that has both languages is “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes,” by Annie Kubler.
2Point out a red object to your toddler and say, “In English, this color is called red. In Spanish, we say roja." Eventually, teach your little one all the color names in Spanish and English. Do the same with simple words — cat, dog, apple, and animal names, body parts and numbers.
3Sing songs in Spanish. You can make up songs like, “un pequeño dedo del pie, dos dedos de little, tres dedos de little, cuatro dedos de little y cinco dedos de little,” which means “one little toe, two little toes, three little toes, four little toes and five little toes!” Counting your toddler’s toes during his bath time is a creative way to learn this song. Another option is to find age-appropriate, Spanish songs on a CD or the computer. This is particularly helpful if you teach your toddler the English version of familiar songs like, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Wheels on the Bus” followed by the Spanish version.
4Rent or purchase age-appropriate videos or DVDs in Spanish. Toddlers enjoy watching their most-loved videos repeatedly, and this is a wise way to expose your child to the Spanish language during his daily routine.
- Learning a second language should not be a bewildering experience. If your toddler seems cranky or tired during language lessons, try teaching him at another time when he is more compliant. Wait a couple of months if the Spanish words seem to frustrate or confuse him. Toddlers learn at different speeds, and he may simply not be ready at this time.Spanish dictionaries are inexpensive and helpful in looking up words you cannot remember how to pronounce or spell correctly.
Things You'll Need
- Age-appropriate books
- CDsVideos or DVDs