How I encourage my toddler to talk the second language (English)?

June 26, 2014
Hello Mommies! This is part two of my post a couple of weeks ago. If you were not able to read the first part last time, I suggest you read it here.

Ok. Let's proceed.

Ronan and I have tried our best to incorporate English words every time we talked to our little one, Chesska. Like what I mentioned in my old post, Speaking English is an important skill for a child to develop.

We mainly focus teaching English, rather than our own dialect, Visayan,  because, I know, Chesska could easily learn the "latter" when she gets older through the influence of neighbors, playmates, or even her classmates soon. Remember, we live in a bilingual-country which uses two major languages, our native-tongue and English.

However, along the road, there are factors which may interrupt her learning the language. One example is, my mom is a fan of the so-called "Teleserye", so Chesska couldn't avoid to watch it.  Another example is during "adult-talk", we couldn't avoid her listen to our conversation in Visayan. Well, I didn't say,  we all talked English at home (which sounds awkward since we were not used to ), but we only talked to our little girl in English.

The need of learning "English" as early as her age is quite important , especially that, Chesska will  start to school next year (hopefully). So she has been trained to get familiar with the things around her in English (which I elaborate below). Here's my step-by-step advice.

Disclaimer: I'm not an English-expert, nor an English teacher.  However, my prior knowledge on teaching approach and method helps me create this topic. 

1. At the age of 6 months,  I let her watch any English-based educational and interactive shows such as Barney, Dora the Explorer,  Alphabet Songs, Number Songs,  Animal Sounds, and Nursery Rhymes. 

Toddlers have lots to gain from listening to music, much more on watching educational and interactive shows. Apart from they're amusing, they also encourage toddlers to make movements by dancing with the tune, and help stimulate the process of "talking".

2. I teach to mastery,  using concrete examples and charts.

Child's learning is all about repetition, isn't it ? I say first the Alphabets and Numbers and let her follow after. I do it daily and consistently. Also, if a toddler has lots of opportunities to see pictures, chances are,  she will learn easily.

3. I often talk the routines she is doing daily such as bathe, sleep, brush, drink, comb, play, eat, watch tv, etc. 

This is Chesska's book about different actions.  I've always asked her what the characters(cat and mouse) are doing.  

During mother-child conversation, you may say:

a. Drink your milk.
b. Eat your food.
c. Let's sleep.
d. Brush your teeth.

4. A child can only speak English once she is familiar of the things around her. So I begin by:

a. Naming the foods she eats like biscuit, fruits, juice, candy, lollipop, rice, etc.

b. Naming the people, things, animals within her immediate surrounding, like mama, papa, friends, baby, dog, cat, tv, chair, table, door, window, curtain, etc.

c. Identifying the body parts  like eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Do it daily until she will remember, then have her identify body parts herself.

d. Identifying her personal belongings like shirt, short, skirt, panty, jogging pants, comb, toothbrush, etc.

e. Recognizing her toys such as bear, doll, car, xylophone, puzzle, etc.

f.  Distinguishing shapes and colors.

5. I would sometimes act out what she usually does like run, jump, smile, play, walk,  hop, close, open,  hide, seek, etc. 

It is sometimes necessary to stoop down to her level by jumping, running, walking, and playing together.
Act them out with her and say the words aloud.

6. More importantly, begin teaching good values by saying polite expressions like, "Thank you", "Sorry",  "Please", "Excuse me", "May I".

7. I teach her memorize her complete name, address, and age in a complete sentence. 

8. The time my toddler had already learned plenty of words,  I started incorporating the 5 w's (What, When, Where, Why, Who) in a sentence.   


What letter is this? Where is your toy? But don't expect a 2-year-old child to answer your question which starts with "Why and When"?

9. I integrate "please", in making a request like:

a. Please close the door.
b. Please arrange your toys.
c. Please put back your things inside the cabinet.
d. Please help mama.

10. I teach her how to greet .

a. Good morning!
b. Good afternoon
c. Good night!
d. Hi
e. Hello

11. I am generous with praises even the small effort my toddler does. I use "Very Good", "Good", "Nice", "Looks Good" with feelings.

When my little one sees a yummy food set on the table, she would say "wow", or when her dress is pretty, she would say "Nice". She has started appreciating little things.

12. I use "Yes" for approval  and "NO"for disapproval. 

13.. I buy plenty of picture-books for her to scan. 

Mind you - your little kiddo would pretend turning the books from one page to another. Also, she will enjoy naming things seen in the picture books.

14. I also orient my toddler with the words hot, dirty, slippery/slide, etc. for her safety. 

15. I teach her how to follow directions like right, left, up and down. 

Do you find my tips useful? Please do them slowly but consistently. It is not an easy process though, and it takes time before your toddler can absorb all of these. Even I have troubles making her understand the concepts. Just be patient and do it with "LOVE"...Most importantly, you enjoy what you are doing!

Some more tips? Maybe you can add "yours" by leaving your comments below.  

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