1. Use one language at a time, for short periods of time. Daily routines can be an optimal time for using the second language. For example, speak the second language only during the bath time routine (without language-mixing.) Your child will become familiar with all of the vocabulary associated with bath (soap, water, towel, bubbles, etc). Once you feel your child is comfortable with these vocabulary words, you might add a second daily routine, such as breakfast.
  2. Make a picture dictionary. To make a picture dictionary, staple sheets of construction paper together and cut pictures out of magazines. Use categories which complement your child’s experiences. Label pictures in both languages.
  3. Use repetition. By singing songs or rhymes and repeating them each week, your child will be able to remember the ways words are used and apply them in their day-to-day lives. Make learning games that involve silly phrases or actions so they can enjoy the learning process.

The American Speech Language Association notes:

  • Most bilingual children speak their first words by the time they are 1 year old (e.g., “mama” or “dada”).
  • By age 2, most bilingual children can use two-word phrases (e.g., “my ball” or “no juice”). These are the same language developmental milestones seen in children who learn only one language.
  • From time to time, children may mix grammar rules, or they might use words from both languages in the same sentence. This is a normal part of bilingual language development.
  • When a second language is introduced, some children may not talk much for a while. This “silent period” can sometimes last several months. Again, this is normal and will go away.

Chatterboxes offers quality Speech-Language & Occupational Therapy in Boston and Lexington, MA. We also offer flexible service options for your family. Call us today at 617-969-8255 or visit us at 121 Mt Vernon St, Boston, MA 02108.