English & Spanish speaking to a 23month old..

Ruby - posted on 12/02/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My husband & I are both Mexican and we grew up speaking both Spanish & English. My son who is 23 months "speaks" both. He understands both as well but some people have told me if you teach them both at the same time they will have speech problems.... I don't think that's true. Has anyone ever heard of that?

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Carolina - posted on 12/09/2010

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Hola Ruby..Mi nombre es Carolina tengo una bebe de 8 meses, mi esposo es irlandes. Cuando fui al pediatra por primera vez le pregunte acerca de como manejar el idioma en casa ya que mi esposo habla ingles y yo español. Ella me dijo que cuando yo este a solas con la bebe hable en español solo en español para que no se confunda y cuando el papi este en casa en ingles. Me dijo los niños son como unas esponjas que asimilian todo muy rapido.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/06/2011

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Hola mi nombre es Elizabeth y tengo un ninio de 3 anios, mi esposo es griego y yo mexicana, el le habla en griego y yo en espaniol y hasta ahorita el ninio se dirige con el en griego y con migo en espaniol...y entrara a una escuela griego-inglesa asi, que ahi tambien tendra que aprender ingles...los ninios a esa edad pueden manejar muy bien hasta 4 idiomas al mismo tiempo...

Kelly - posted on 01/03/2011

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Absolutely not! I have put a lot of time and effort into studying this. The worst that happens is that your child may sometimes have delayed speech as they go through the process of sorting the two languages. Your child will definitely benefit from speaking two languages. We decided to go with Spanish first and English as the second language (Spanish is not my first language) and we positively reinforce use of Spanish within our family. We also use Spanish in public as I want to be sure my children know it is not something we hide - it is something we do with PRIDE!

Luisa - posted on 12/28/2010

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On the contrary, our Pediatrician said that this was great. It will take your baby a little longer to speak, because they will have to digest everything in two languages, but children are sponges, they will learn everything, just make sure you are not speaking spanglish to your baby so that they will not be more confused, but in my opinion, you should not stop speaking both languages to your baby, just speak one language at a time to your child and be aware that your child will not speak sooner, rather later, but that is not an indication that your child will have speech problems.

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/25/2011

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Oh my goodness!! You are making it possible for him to pick up any language he chooses as he grows older! The critics' school of thought is the old way of thinking. It is simply not the case. Continue to do what you are doing. NOW is the time his brain can learn to process and learn different languages. Good for you!

Tracy - posted on 08/22/2011

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my husband was born in mexico, and i was born in cali . he speaks spanish to our daughter and i speak to her in english..ive heard people say that in the long run, it will be better for her.

Miriam - posted on 04/28/2011

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No!! I am a bilingual teacher and I have an 8 year old (and 3 month old twins:) we taught our 8 year old English at the same time when he would spend time with my mom she taught him Spanish. He is more fluent in English, but also understands and speaks Spanish. I focused on him learning to read and write English first and when he was in the 2nd grade he picked up a book in Spanish and read it perfectly to me. Without anyone ever showing him how. When a child has a strong foundation in a language it is easy for him to transition to another language. Dr.'s say that a child that is fully bilingual (not some that dont really speak either because neither is taught fully to them)the child tends to be smarter and have a much bigger vocabulary.

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Some children do experience speech difficulties so therapists advise parents to focus on one language and later on do the next one. I have a friend that went through that with her oldest. He was around 5 when he started speaking english with less difficulty and then my friend re-introduced spanish at around 7 years old. I do not believe every child will have speech problems when trying to learn two languages but some definitely do. My children speak both, in the earlier years their vocabulary tends to be smaller because they do have to sort through two languages. Developing the skill of speaking two languages alters (for the better) their cognitive channels in the brain forever and that is a definite plus. If a child speaks only spanish at home until she goes to school, she will learn to speak English within a year and acquire an adequate (for their age) vocabulary within a couple of years. However, becoming fully fluent which includes reading and writting will take a bit longer. They estimate a learning or adapting curve of up to 5 years. I have definitely seen this, children of immigrants that learn English quickly but reading and writting takes longer and depending on the support they receive at home, some take longer than others. I do not believe that is a big deal either. My oldest son is now trilingual and his is fully fluent (speaks, reads and writes in Spanish very well). My husband has learned spanish and tries to speak it to the kids but they are definitely exposed to English more unless they are around my family. I do use the spanish track of any dvd the kids watch and that is the absolute rule at home, they do complain about it but that is the rule. We also attend a spanish speaking church so they are not only exposed to the language, but the diverse cultures of different latinamerican countires along with their accents. I think that is important because I have met kids that are only used to their moms of grandparents accent and do not understan anyone else, mostly because the only exposure is that one relative.

Cynthia - posted on 04/01/2011

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I am mexican my husband is american but speaks spanish, we talk to our 6 year old son in english and spanish. We have been talking to him in both languages since he was born I was told by a speech therapist that if you want them to learn a second language the younger the better.

Annette - posted on 03/24/2011

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I don't think that is true either, I see kids learning both languages all the time and they learn pretty well. But even if it causes a mild delay, the benefit of being bilingual is great.
I only speak Spanish to my 2 year old because I'm more comfortable in Spanish, but also because she is going to get the English from school anyway and we are her only source of Spanish.

Sonia - posted on 03/24/2011

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Im colombian and my husband is american, we speak both languages at home our little one is 5 and o problems with the speech plus that I read to her in spanish at least once a week, she is doing good and I think actually speak both makes them smarter!!!

Johanna - posted on 03/24/2011

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Hi Ruby..

I'm in the same boat. I was raised speaking Spanish & English as well. It has had effect in me since I was little. But now as an adult my spanish is really bad. I heard the same thing. I have my son with Regular therapy and speech therapy cuz his doctor thought he was saying to little words at his age. He is doing so much better but their have told me as well that Speaking to him in spanish and english is not bad but some people think its bad. I'm so confused. I really don't know what to do. Their say talk to him spanish because in school their would learn English really quick. Which I think its true. But he understands both. I really don't think its a problem Why? Because these kids now a days are born so smart. My son is a smart boy and he knows when he does something bad and you correct him. I talk to him both. Speech Therapy told me if you going to speak to him in spanish finish the whole sentence in spanish don't do half spanish/english because then that would mess them up alot. So if you going to talk to him in spanish do the whole sentence in spanish from beginning to end. Same with english. I'm first time mom and I think I'm a little more worried. But at the same time it happened to me so I don't want it to happen to him. So I understand where you are coming from..Let me know how that turns out..Good Luck..

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!Ive never heard that i actually think tthats good that your baby speaks both besides my little brother grew up hearing both and he was just fine your best bet its putting him in a billingual class and daycare...you are so lucky my daughter is 18 months old and she only understands english and now i fell like its too late to teach her spanish

User - posted on 01/27/2011

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I don't believe this! I think it is great for you to teach the baby both its wonderful! and im do the same for my child when he arrives. Good luck

Franshell - posted on 01/16/2011

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yes, it just depends on the child though! my nephew was being taught both at the same time, and he seems to have gotten confused.. he understood when spoken to, but refused to speak! eventually was placed in speech therapy, within 4 months he got the point, and has been speaking both since he was 2 perfectly..

S - posted on 01/16/2011

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Is your pediatrician an older practitioner? I ask because mine told me to keep talking to my child in Spanish and English and is abreast the current research in her field. I love her! .At this age they are like sponges and will absorb everything. Keep in mind that girls do learn faster than boys . My girl was making sentences at a very young age while my now 2 y.o. son is still trying to articulate words in both languages. But he understands both with no difficulty.

Krystyna - posted on 01/13/2011

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One parent needs to speak more of one language to your child... and you need to make sure your child is differentiating the two. We are raising our son bilingual as well and we live in Brazil. I speak mainly English to him and his Father speaks mainly Portuguese to him.... he speaks both but he speaks more English since he is around me more,... but once he is in school he'll speak more Portuguese.... just give it time.... your child will catch on. The important thing is to make sure you constantly expose them to both languages.,...

Marcela - posted on 01/12/2011

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I am only speaking through experience. I am bilingual 100%. Although born in Mexico, we were raised here in the US and my parents didn't even allow us to speak English at home because they were afraid we would forget Spanish. I was never confused. As a matter of fact, I speak Spanish very well and without an accent and my best subject in school has always been English. I think that everything said about our children becoming confused when they are taught both languages is nonsense. There are children and adults in other countries who know more than two languages and know them well. I would much rather my daughters grow up speaking, reading and writing both languages well than thinking and saying they are bilingual when they can't even pronouce half of what they say (which is what I see today in many hispanics raised speaking mostly English). I think it is embarrassing that there are Anglo Americans that speak better Spanish than many Hispanics themselves. I think you are doing well in teaching your child both languages. It will pay off in the end; I know.

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yo tengo un bebe de 28 meses y el decide cuando usar el ingles o espanol nunca hemos tenido problema. Mi esposo habla mas ingles q espanol y yo hablo mas espanol q ingles

Odalis - posted on 12/20/2010

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Well , is to many diferentt opinion, but I believe is not confusion for Kids, they are so smart in this time and able to do that , my Son is 3 years old born premature and he speak very well both Spanish and English and he know the diferent since was 2

Ashley - posted on 12/16/2010

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yes i heard that my husband is from mexico and speaks pretty good english and i speak pretty good spanish and our daughte is 9 months and we speak to her in both but all his family tells him we should teach her spanish first then wait till she goes to schoool to learn english but i dont want to do that because she wouldnt be able to speak to my family since they speak all english but they say the ones that are spoke to in both speak later and mix up the words and languages sometimes but i dont know for sure yet

Yvette - posted on 12/14/2010

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I have a four year old grandson whom we have spoken both english and spanish to since he was born and he doesn't have any speech problems. It has worked out well. We now are teaching my 1 yr old granddaughter both english and spanish as well.

Noemi - posted on 12/12/2010

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i have a three month old baby girl. im mexican and the dad is white. so when it came teaching my daughter Spanish i only speak it to her, no English. that way she knows the difference. i know shes little but i know in the long run it will work. you should try it.

Rosie - posted on 12/11/2010

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I think they will because my son is 1 1/2 and he also understand both languages and he doesn't really talk much his pediatrician said it was because he is coufussed and that we should just speak to him in spanish and he will learn english in school.

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