Why Sing a Song to help your Bilingual Kids?
All human beings are musical in their own way. Singing in a second language is a great way for toddlers to learn a new language. Have you ever listened to a cooing baby? It sounds just like singing. Catchy melodies are music to a toddler’s ears and will get and hold their attention quickly. The repetition will also help them to remember the lyrics of the song. Toddlers can learn through using their senses even before they learn how to read or write. Songs with cultural or personal meaning – for example, songs passed down in your family will be easy for your child to learn and remember. The use of songs is widely practiced by educators. Whether it is a song about body parts or the alphabet, singing is often used in the classroom as a method to encourage learning.
Do You Need a Great Voice to Sing in a Second Language?
The good news is you do NOT need to hire a voice coach to use this method to teach your child. Toddlers don’t care whether you’re singing off-key, they just love the sound of your voice! Here a few useful tips to get you started:
Choose a song that has actions or creates movements for the song. Toddlers learn using all their senses, so you want to keep them fully engaged.
Search YouTube to find fun and interesting songs and nursery rhymes.
Sing a song that they are familiar with in their first language.
Use a lot of expression in your face and tone. Make it fun and entertaining!
Celebrate with your child when they remember some of the words or sing along with you.
Explain what the song is about. (A line-by-line translation is not needed).
Try to sing lines from the song while doing everyday activities with your toddler.
Be consistent – repetition helps to reinforce what has been taught.
How Does Singing Help Teach a Second Language?
Nursery rhymes and songs are an important part of a baby or young child’s language development. Do you remember the nursery rhymes you grew up singing? It took no effort to learn the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Mary Had A Little Lamb” – no matter the language. It’s no coincidence that young children are drawn to activities with music, rhythm, and repetition…. all of these elements can help young children learn. Before a toddler is even able to speak, they use sound to communicate with their environment. So, our “words” are just “sounds” that they grow to understand over time. After they get the hang of it, the babbling turns to non-stop chatter!
There are many resources online that can give you ideas, tips, and tricks on how to teach your bilingual toddler with songs. Be patient with yourself and have fun. If you’re enjoying the experience, so will your little one! Mama Lisa’s World and Little Linguist are two options you can explore for CDs and materials for your toddler. We use Rockalingua videos in our classes to help teach the kids – they are written specifically for Spanish learners and the best part is that it can be used for complete beginners or native speakers wanting to increase vocabulary.
Be creative! Make up songs about everyday activities in the second language. I’m sure your toddler would listen to you rock out during bath time or while watching you clean. Choose the best option that works for you and your family. Give it your best shot and HAVE FUN!
Check out a class for just $12 bucks! Our methods are tried and proven so you can be confident in your child learning effectively learning Spanish. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help!