Ideas on how to acquire languages from an early age by bambolango
Our experience as a multilingual family has allowed us to try out most of the ideas we are going to share with you on how to acquire languages from an early age. These tips aim to help you introduce or promote the minority languages spoken at home. So, along with creating a need and the motivation for your little ones to learn a second language, we also recommend you:
1. Read, read, read
Try and choose books in your target language that you are going to feel comfortable reading to your little ones. Try stories you may already know or books that also have audiobooks to help you with pronunciation. It’s really important to choose the right moment to read! It is not easy when kids are too energetic, distracted or have been sitting down for a long time. So once you’ve identified the best time for your little ones, share a special moment with them and stimulate their imagination. Even if you think you’re not the best story teller, you will captivate your kids simply by varying your tone of voice from time to time, pointing at things from the book and asking questions, repeating some of the words, finding things in your everyday lives that relate to the book, etc.
2. Explain everyday routines in your target language
In bambolango, we believe that the process of acquiring a second language should be as natural as acquiring your mother tongue. And what’s one of the things we do everyday with our little ones? Follow lots of different routines!! When we get up in the morning, when we get dressed, when we go to have a bath, before bed… So why not take advantage and talk through these routines in your desired language? This is widespread practice in nurseries that introduce different languages to kids from an early age. It is very simple and consists of simply describing each part of the routine. For example, at lunchtime, rather than simply washing their hands and sitting them at the table, you narrate your actions in the target language.
3. Create a support group of friends/families
Having other people around who speak your desired language, or exposing your little ones to situations where only that language is spoken is extremely helpful. It allows them to develop a need to speak it and understand that it’s not just used in their home environment. If other members of your family speak your target language, encourage them to do so with your kids. If they live in other parts of the world, you can introduce weekly Skype sessions. And if you have the opportunity to visit family or friends in countries that use your desired language, where you can be immersed in the language and culture, take advantage to do so.
We also recommend looking for activities for children carried out in your local neighbourhood. Or playgroups. Or even just trying to meet families in your area who you can organise a playdate with in another language.
Learn more about bambolango…
We hope you find our advice helpful, and we’d love to have your feedback! Please let us know if you’ve tried any of our tips and how they work for you! Or get in touch with any questions you’d like us to answer or help you out with. (www.bambolango.com).
You can purchase our products from the online shop and quote you for shipping to the UK (shipping costs to Spain are detailed on the website). You can also email us on email@example.com.
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Twitter: @bambolango www.twitter.com/bambolango
About me, Deborah Sigler…
I was born and raised in London, U.K. and decided to move abroad to Valencia, Spain in 2004 to enjoy the culture, language and climate. I’ve always loved city life, but I prefer to enjoy it in small doses or in cities of a manageable size, like Valencia, where you can escape the hustle and bustle if it all gets too much. About a million years ago, I used to be an HR consultant in a multinational organisation.
When my second child was born I took some time out to stay at home and to start researching my current business: bambolango. We design and produce our own bilingual products and run activities (English-Spanish) in order to create more opportunities to expose little ones (and those who accompany them) to different languages in a fun and natural way. I love running bambolango and sharing experiences with other families who are looking for more support when raising their kids in different languages. It’s so rewarding to see children starting to speak and realising there’s more than one way to say the same thing. And I love helping them acquire a second language in an entertaining, natural and nurturing environment.
I’m bilingual in English (my mother tongue) and Spanish, and can understand Catalán and Valenciano quite well, along with a smidgen of French. When we decided to start our family, my partner and I agreed that we would each speak our mother tongue to our children (English and Catalán). We didn’t know it then, but we’d chosen what is known as the “OPOL” approach – one person one language. And while this works well in our household, there are a number of other systems that exist that may work better for different families.
We’ve encountered a number of language related challenges along the way and we’ve devised or adapted different strategies to overcome them. I’m determined to continue increasing my little ones’ exposure to English, the minority language, to ensure they feel comfortable using it. So I’m constantly thinking of exciting and engaging ways to help them.
I started bambolango as a result of my own personal experience as the penultimate generation of an amazingly multilingual family. When our eldest daughter was born, I discovered that there were very few bilingual resources that could be used from an early age. The majority of materials on the market are aimed at toddlers or older kids, with a more complex and unsuitable content for babies. And this inspired me to design my own resources, with the help of another member of our multilingual family! We now have a whole series of bilingual English-Spanish products, called the “Aventuras Series”, for sale in our online shop. bambolango also aims to help little ones acquire a second language through fun activities, immersing them in a natural and easy-going environment. We want them to play, enjoy themselves, discover, imagine and create… while being exposed the entire time to another language.
So, as you can see, we offer more than just a methodology to learn languages because we have lived and breathed bilingualism all our lives. And our motto in bambolango is: it’s not about teaching, it’s about having fun in different languages!