Your kid’s doctor on raising a child who speaks two languages

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Kid’s doctors know that many children in the Gastonia, NC area are being raised in households that speak a different language, or more than one language. This article is being written in English because, in all honesty, hablo solamente un poco español and no other languages at all. But if you are living in one of these households, this post is for you.

First, the good news. Good translators are always in demand, and although Google Translate gets a little less ridiculous every year, this will probably continue to be the case for most of our lives. Also, a study published in Psychological Science in 2015 found that the more languages you know, the better you are at communication. A child fluent in multiple languages will find many doors open to him or her later in life.

Helping your child master English

More good news — if someone in your household is an English-speaker, your child will pick up English almost as quickly as native-born English-speakers and will catch up to the rest of the class soon enough. But if your own spoken English is a work in progress, teaching it to your child won’t do him or her any favors.

As you probably know from experience, the hardest part of learning any language — or at least the part that takes the longest — is the pronunciation. Your child could be a genius, but his or her lips and tongue will still need long practice forming the sounds of another language in order to ingrain the skills in their muscle memory. And just to make things more complicated, there are distinct vowels and consonants that can give a word different meanings in English, but that don’t occur in Spanish or many other languages. An infant who doesn’t hear English spoken at home for the first few years will have a much harder time learning to separate these sounds later.

So the younger they start listening to the sounds of English, the better they’ll do. Ideally, this should begin in infancy or when the child is a toddler. Try to get your child into an English-speaking playgroup. Look for videos and TV shows in English, especially those that show a lot of interaction between characters so your child can see what’s going on and connect it to the sounds.

A kids’ doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a kids’ doctor conveniently located west of Charlotte. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you are worried about the flu and are looking for a kids’ doctor, call today.