My New Life
My New Life
Mar 10, 2021
Ways to raise a bilingual child
Play • 24 min

Toddlers love words. This enthusiasm helps them grow their spoken words from just a few at age one, to 1,000 or even 2,000 by age three. Given how receptive young children are to new sounds and ways to use them, it is not surprising that toddlers can pick up second languages easily. Research also suggests that brain connections multiply when babies are exposed to new languages. Parents have caught on, and demand for bilingual products and preschools is at an all-time high.


While experts agree on the benefits of exposing kids to multiple languages, the best means of doing so is up for debate. On today’s episode, Host Jessica Rolph is joined by Dr. Veronica Fernandez, a developmental and child psychologist, with tips on how to best approach bilingualism in the home.


Key Takeaways:

[1:35] Veronica talks about the benefits of raising a bilingual child and shares the reasons why she is choosing to raise her daughter, Isla, with two languages.

[3:02] How can parents who only speak one language at home best lay a strong foundation for bilingualism at home?

[5:05] Veronica discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to bilingualism.

[6:57] Veronica speaks about the challenges of raising Isla as bilingual.

[8:00] How important is immersion? Do kids benefit from occasional exposure to a second language, or do they need to have some component of an immersive experience?

[8:50] Veronica debunks some myths about bilingualism, including the unfounded concern that learning another language may cause your child to have a speech delay.

[11:13] What if your child is using two languages within one sentence?

[12:25] What about those talking books and toys that switch from one language to another? How effective are they?

[14:21] Toddlers generally experience a language explosion around 18 months to 2 years; should parents expect the same of a bilingual baby?

[15:07] Should a parent drop a language if a child has a perceived delay?

[16:01] Is there an optimal age to introduce a second language?

[16:48] Veronica offers a few tools to teach the target language.

[18:01] If a child is reluctant to speak the second language, what can be done to encourage them?

[19:35] Veronica shares tips for parents who are monolingual and want to introduce their babies to another language, as well as for bilingual parents who are also on the journey to bilingualism with their children.

[21:40] Jessica reviews the highlights of her conversation with Veronica.


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