Need advice on raising a bilingual baby-

Maria Ximena - posted on 10/24/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Hello Mamas,
My first language is Spanish and even though my husband was taught Spanish from birth (mother is Spanish but he is youngest of 3) his Spanish is pretty awful. As such, I speak to my 20 month old daughter in Spanish and he speaks to her in English 90% of the time and sometimes in Spanish. Between the 2 of us we speak English. My daughter isn't speaking as much as I would like, she speaks full sentences in her jibberish and adds the occasional English or Spanish word. Do you think the fact that my husband and I speak in English to eachother in her presence is confusing her? What has been your experience? Any advice is VERY much appreciated...

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Jodi - posted on 10/26/2013

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It is normal for a child's language development to be a little delayed when they are learning two languages, but as they develop, they do catch up with their language skills. My nephew was raised as bilingual (Greek and English) and he was a bit slow in his talking, but can now speak and understand both equally well (he is 10) and you would never know his speech had been delayed earlier on.

Anna - posted on 10/26/2013

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Oh, and to add, I know a very intelligent little girl who's almost 4 now but still speaks jibberish (yup, no ones perfect). And only english is spoken in their house, so theres no language confusion factor there. So dont feel bad for your 20 year old.

Anna - posted on 10/26/2013

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No, I don't think guys are doing anything wrong. I'm not a pediatrician or even a speech therapist/professional, but I grew up trilingual :). Young children's brains are like sponges. Sooner or later you'll hear your child speak both languages. My 3 year old we are training in 4 languages (parents and grand parents come from different places). He's picking up all these at varying levels, though he's more adept at 2 of them. Just talk and talk and talk to your child in both Spanish and English.

Maria Ximena - posted on 10/25/2013

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Thanks so much Rita! Yes, my husband understands perfectly so he doesn't feel left out.

Rita - posted on 10/25/2013

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First of all, don't worry - you and your husband speaking English does not confuse your daughter nor her language development. Soon enough she will be speaking and there will be no stopping her! My youngest daughter was three before she came out with a full sentence. We were advised by a speech therapist to stick to only one language - a piece of advice we didn't take, as it would have been impossible to change our family's language set-up. My daughter grew up to become a fluent trilingual. The important thing for you is to be consistent in the language use - when you are speaking to her directly, always use Spanish. I presume your husband still understand Spanish, so it won't be a problem.

Frances - posted on 10/24/2013

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Many 20 month olds speak in jibberish anyway - so I don't think the two languages is hurting her. In fact, research indicates that children can distinguish between two languages and can learn them both, much easier than when we are older. I have cousins that were spoken to mostly in Korean as infants, but grew up here in the U.S. and are fully bilingual. Definitely keep it up with your daughter - you won't regret her being able to speak both languages.

Brittany - posted on 10/24/2013

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Im american and my husband is mexican and our. 3 year old daughter speaks spanish , at first she was confused between the 2 languages anand also spoke "jibberish" lol

Ivy - posted on 10/24/2013

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Omg this happened to me with my 4 year old. When he was 2 he was still speaking Gibberish and make ugh sounds when he wanted something I became concerned and asked the doctor he clearly said my son was confused we speak to him English and Spanish so he didn't know which one to speak in... Soon after he began talking; hasn't stopped since, both languages

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