For a couple of years now I've been immersed in everything multilingual children and how they acquire different languages at the same time.
I've dreamed of the day my own children would be growing up multilingual. I would love to see them speaking to my family in Brazil, reading and writing in Portuguese.
But then I had a baby…
The most common advice out there is that you should talk to your baby even before they're born. I honestly found myself feeling quite awkward talking to my bump. I tried reading aloud, but I didn't have much material in Portuguese at the time. So yeah, during pregnancy my partner and I read a little bit and awkwardly talked to the bump a little bit.
When she was born I thought "No time to waste! She's here, she sees me, she hears me, she's watching and learning all the time! Let's dooooo this!"
But then… postpartum exhaustion! And you know what newborns actually do most of the time? Eat, sleep, pee and poop. How am I supposed to talk to her? To give her that precious language input?
When I started feeling a bit more like myself and when she started staying more alert, I naturally incorporated "conversations" during: diaper changes, feeding and tummy time. I say good morning, ask how she slept, if she had good dreams, I describe what we're doing, talk about the day ahead, about the weather, etc. I do baby talk, which is slower, emphasizes vowel sounds and helps babies distinguish the sounds and words of a particular language. She started cooing and making cute sounds, so I reply - and so she learns how conversations work!
We also add to the experience by singing and reading a lot to her - pretty much any time she's awake! I honestly like that better than talking, I feel like there’s a purpose and an end to it.
As with any advice, we see what works for us. How do/did you talk to your babies?
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