Life with my little Leon is getting exciting. If I ask him "Where's your head/shoes/tummy?" he knows and pats or wriggles them. "Could you put this in the bin please?" He'll take his nappy sack or empty juice carton and toddle off to throw it in the bin. It's brilliant to see him understanding so much though he's not really talking much more than "Hola" and "Bye Bye!" and the occasional word copying from 'teaching' to 'doggie'. He babbles away to himself and others rather frequently and it's lovely to see him have conversations with other children. I was concerned about him not talking yet but read that multilingual children tend to start speaking later.
Bilingualism and stats
When catching up on Mummy Zen I came across this TED video explaining the critical period of language learning and how babies learn this through statistics. In terms of learning a second language, babies and children are geniuses until the age of 7 and then there's a steep decline in ability to learn a second language. Bilinguals must keep two sets of statistics in their head and switch between them. Where exposed to mandarin in 12 sessions from 6 months to 12 months the tested babies understood the same as a Taiwanese baby! Incredible.
Interestingly babies do not take these statistics from audio or video cues but from human beings. So it's better to have that foreign friend, relative or neighbour speak to your tot if you wish for them to learn another language rather than stick them in front of Sesame Street in spanish ;)
Involving him when reading
Thanks to Working London Mummy's guest post at Dr Greene where she outlined the importance of involving your little ones when reading, I made a mental note and when next reading Goodnight Moon with Leon before bed, I asked him where the telephone, red balloon and clocks where - he found them ALL!! I was so proud of him and to think I'd just never asked him before. I was so happy I yelled out to hubby who dashed over and tried the same thing in french but alas- drew a completely blank look from little Leon.
He still can't show him his tete or nez and I feebly explained it's down to my spending more time with him and reading to him in english. Since then, I've moved away from the OPOL (One Parent, One Language) method and have been speaking spanish and a bit of french to him, in fear of him not picking them up as well as english. I'm now making an effort to read a french book or poem every other night as well as one or two other english books and hope he progresses with his understanding of french. Having said that - hubby will also need to spend more time with littl'un and make the most of their Father and son Saturday!
See you at Cybermummy ;)