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October 27th, 2012

As we age, our ability to learn a new language quickly diminishes so if you want your child to learn a second language you should start early. If you choose to raise your child as a bilingual, these tips will help you along the way.

  1. If both parents speak the language then both should speak it at home, correcting any errors or pronunciation.
  1. If only one parent speaks the language then they should speak it exclusively with the child to ensure maximum language exposure.
  1. Take advantage of technology; use Rosetta Stone or other language software and use the internet to find appropriate games, puzzles and videos for your children that will help them learn the language.
  1. Teach your children songs in their second language and have sing-along sessions during car rides.
  1. Wherever possible, try to make sure that nannies, babysitters and anyone else who cares for your child are able to speak the language and are actively encouraging them to learn it. Include relatives in this activity and share with them your current teaching methods.
  1. Dedicate one night a week to a dinner themed around their second language. Cook a meal from the country they are learning about and encourage your child to help, naming ingredients and sitting down to the dinner table to discuss their day using their second language.
  1. Help them to find friends who speak the language. Connect them with other children who are also learning the language and find them a pen pal, or an e-mail buddy, from abroad who has it as a first language.
  1. Sit down and watch their favourite movie, but play it in their second language.
  1. If possible, plan holidays to visit countries in which the language is spoken. This is a great opportunity for immersion and will give them the chance to really test their skills.
  1. Use post-it notes or blank label stickers to label everyday objects in your home; give your child the stickers and a pen and let them run around naming as many objects as they can.
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