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How Learning A Foreign Language Helps Boost Toddler Development

The early years are the most important years of a toddler’s life since it is during this time when learning patterns are best established. Learning a foreign language is one way to increase toddler development. Here are some of the benefits it brings.

Helps Toddlers Develop Intellectually

Many researchers have said that although learning a foreign language is effective at any age, the human brain is more open to learning a new language from birth to toddlerhood. Hence, the reason why a 4-year old child can better absorb the sounds and intonations of a new language as compared to a 12-year old child. In addition, learning two or more languages can boost certain crucial brain functions. In fact, it has been proven that children who grew up speaking two languages are better at “executive function” – an important skill that helps people focus, pay attention, plan and make decisions.

Enhances Language Skills

Introduction of foreign languages helps a toddler build his vocabulary which in turn increases the child’s reading aptitude and generates new ways to be communicative. Moreover, learning a foreign language greatly benefits a toddler’s communication and oral expression. Grammatical formation, memory and listening skills are improved which helps enhance a toddler’s cognitive abilities. In addition, teaching a toddler to speak a foreign language before he reaches 10 years of age increases the chances of the child to develop native-like pronunciation (speak the language like a native).

Encourages Better Understanding of Other Cultures

As a toddler discovers a new language, he is also exposed to beliefs, cultures and traditions which are different from his own. Instead of shutting out another language, he gains better awareness of not just his own individuality but also of others which helps a toddler become well-rounded.

Improves A Toddler’s Personality

Research has also proven that toddlers who are bilingual are more creative and seek various ways to resolve problems aside from having tantrums and displaying aggressive behaviour. They are capable of thinking outside the box because they have been exposed to different points of views and languages.

Helps Toddlers Excel In Academics

According to a recent study conducted, toddlers who continue learning concepts in their native language while at the same time learning a foreign one perform better academically than children who only learn American English. This is because bilingual children have developed better concept structure, systematic skills and cognitive flexibility – skills that are important in providing academic success. As a result, the toddler will be able to build a strong educational foundation that will be of great help once he enters higher education.

Learning a foreign language offers plenty of benefits to children. Thus, honing your toddler to be bilingual is valuable for his development. Start early. Expose your toddler to native speakers by letting him talk to an aunt who lives in Spain or an Italian neighbour. Read books and watch shows that teach children various languages and practice speaking them at home to help reinforce your child’s brain.

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Simple Games That Can Boost Toddler Development

Playtime is an imperative part of toddler development. For it is during this time when toddlers discover and understand themselves, the people around them and the world. Here are some fun toddler games to try.

Hide and Seek

Just as he liked peek-a-boo as a baby, your toddler will love to play simple games of hide and seek. Take turns hiding under the bed sheets or use a pillow to cover your face. To make it more exciting, you can gently prod your little one as he hides. When he is using a big bath towel to cover himself, say “I wonder if this is a leg or an arm?”. Games like this help educate your toddler that just because he cannot see something, it does not mean it is not there.

Let’s Pretend

Toddlers love to mimic their mommy and daddy. Play a game of make believe or do a role play by dressing each other up as a doctor, dentist or construction worker, using finger puppets, big cardboard boxes to become houses, trains and planes, toy gadgets (e.g. telephone and remote control) and housekeeping items (e.g. toddler-sized mop or vacuum, wooden toy tool kit, etc.). Do not forget to talk about what you are doing as this will help your toddler with his language skills. Do different facial expressions (be happy, sad, confused or worried) as well so he can learn about feelings and emotions while developing his imagination.

Stop Dance

Play interactive songs that allow your baby to do particular actions such as stomping like an elephant, tiptoeing so he will not disturb a sleeping lion or hopping like a kangaroo. After a few seconds of dancing, hit the pause button and make sure your toddler stays still, and resume playing the music. Not only is this game fun and easy, but it also enhances your toddler’s imagination, develops his sense of rhythm and builds up his stamina.

Clap Me Happy

By now, your little one can hold his hands open, but it may take some time before he can clap on his own. Clap them together for him or let him hold your hands while you tap them together. Sit him facing you on your lap or on the floor and sing clapping songs like Pat-A-Cake, Miss Lucy Had A Baby and Miss Mary Mack. These will improve his language skills as well as his hand-eye coordination.

Catch The Ball

Toddlers love playing with balls. Use a soft, foam ball to play catch. Both of you sit on the floor facing each other with your legs apart and toes touching, and start rolling the ball backward and forward to each other. This game promotes arm muscle strength and dexterity.

Block Party

Use his stacking toys to make simple patterns such as a square or a rectangle and encourage him to copy it. Help him stack all the blocks together to build a tower or allow him to make his own pattern. Sorting games will help boost your toddler’s problem-solving skills.

Little Treasure Hunter

Spend some time outdoors and give your toddler a short and exciting excursion. Go for a walk together and take his toy pail with you. Let your toddler collect small objects that interest him such as a huge stone, pine cone and dried leaves he found in the park or some seashells and sand he gathered during a trip to the beach. He will enjoy filling and dumping items in the bucket and at the same time, he gets to practice his hand movements. Being outdoors exposes your toddler to different places which helps him learn new concepts and vocabulary.

Make the most out of your toddler’s playtime by playing these simple games that help enrich his development. Both you and your toddler will have so much fun to even notice that he is learning.

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