Will exposing my child to two languages cause a language delay?

Nov 20, 2019 | Delays


NO! Go for it! Research actually shows that the best time to expose your child to a second language is during early childhood.

Another common question we encounter is, “If I am going to expose my child to two languages, what is the best and most effective way to do so?” The answer to this question is all about quality and quantity.

Essentially, the two most important factors are how often your child is exposed to each language (quantity) and the proficiency of the speakers they are learning from (quality)! The best way to apply these findings with your family is to speak to your child in your most proficient language and consistently talk to your child and expose them to new vocabulary.

It is common that children learning two languages simultaneously may have smaller vocabularies in one or both languages when compared to monolingual children.  This is okay because research shows that the vocabulary development of most bilingual children will have caught up to that of monolingual children once they start school.⁠

Just remember, all children will learn at their own pace.  While one child may develop his language skills at a different rate than a monolingual child, it may have nothing to do with the fact that he is learning two languages at once.  Sometimes, when children are learning two languages, they may go through a “silent period” where they do not speak much but this should only last for a few months. This is completely normal, as their brains are processing two languages.

So the takeaway is, exposing your child to two languages will not cause a language delay.  If you can give your child the gift of bilingualism, do it!!

To learn simple and effective strategies to help get your little one talking, check out our Talk on Track (newborn-14 months) and Time to Talk: Toddler Course (15-36 months). We’d love to equip you to experience the joy of your little one talking to you!

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Hi! We're Brooke & Bridget.

We know what you want most is for your child to talk. With more than 20 years of combined experience, we’ve diagnosed and treated hundreds of children with a variety of communication disorders and delays... if your child is having trouble communicating, we can absolutely help. 

We love everything about our work, but we're most excited about guiding parents with practical tips to integrate speech and language techniques into their everyday routines. We'd be honored to partner with you, too!

(And yes, we really are sisters!)

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