Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Parent to Parent: Bilingual Child
They say learning a second language is easiest when you're a child. But many adults - especially here in South Florida - worry two languages like english and spanish can be too much for kids. Tonight, we introduce you to our new parenting expert, Dr. Valerie, who has some advice for confused parents.
WSVN--Even though Margie Miguez is of cuban descent, english is her first language.
But at home, the miguez's hablan espanol to their four children.
Margie Miguez: "We knew right off the bat that we wanted them to be bilingual, no question."
Besides being part of her heritage, mom thinks the extra knowledge will benefit her kids in the future.
That's why she even enrolled them at Camp N, which focuses on speaking spanish while having fun.
Margie Miguez: "Kids love it. It's very fun and nurturing environment."
And that's the only way kids can learn a second language says our new parenting expert, psychologist Dr. Valerie Goode.
Dr. Valerie says there's no such thing as knowing too much.
Lynn: "So many parents in South Florida worry that they are going to be screwing their kids up if they speak two languages at home is that true?"
Dr. Valerie: "No, I would worry more about not speaking enough language at home. Children need language and they need the language spoken to them that a parent is more familiar with."
That's why you should start speaking in your native tongue or second language as soon as your baby is born, even before your baby begins to speak.
Lynn: "Babies learn right away?"
Dr. Valerie: "They learn everything. They learn everything you teach them, it will not confuse them. If they have a language disorder, they are going to have a language disorder in three languages if that's what they know."
CD's, books or even sending your child to language classes are okay, but make sure it's interactive.
Better yet, form a play group with other children who speak the language.
Dr. Valerie also suggests encouraging family members or your child's nanny to speak to your child in a second or even third language.
Dr. Valerie: "So for example you wanted to teach your child Russian, being around other Russian people would be very beneficial for that child using secondary enrichment sources are good, but they are not going to teach the child the language."
Also make sure to sing songs in another language.
Try puppets and role playing too.
But don't force your child to speak.
Instead, just ask them a question and wait for a response.
Dr. Valerie: "If you can sing nursery rhymes to the child. When he comes home from school you say, what did you do at school today? Please tell me in Spanish or please tell me in French or in whatever other language that they are learning."
Margie's proud of her two sons.
Today, twins Lucas and Jake are muy bien spanish speakers.
Margie Miguez: "There is a lot of languages that I would like my children to learn. I think its a beautiful thing. I think it's a shame that we don't expose our children to more languages here in the united states."
Don't worry about your child having an accent either, experts says between their friends and watching T.V., bilingual children usually have accent free english.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Camp N at The University of Miami
1200 Stanford Drive
Coral Gables, FL
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
DR. VALERIE GOODE:
7711 S.W. 62 Avenue
Miami, FL 33143