23 answers

Teaching My Son 3 Languages + Learning for Infants

I have a 2 month old, he is my first child. When I was in school I had a learning disability, so I’d like to have my Son start early with learning (not necessarily now but soon). As of now I speak to him (no baby talk), read to him, play music for him and he watches Sesame street.. well more like listens to it. I thought of ordering the “My baby can read” DVD’s but I’ve heard they may not work.. Is there anything else I should try to help him?

I am Mexican and Puerto Rican- I don't speak Spanish at all and that’s something I wish my Dad would of taught me. Spanish was his first language, my Mom also speaks enough to get by but she isn't fluent. Both my parents want my Son to learn Spanish and they speak to him in Spanish now. Also he listens to a TV show that teaches Spanish.

My Husband is Vietnamese/mix- His first language was Vietnamese (since he doesn't know his Dad he really only identifies with being Vietnamese). He speaks to my Son in Vietnamese and at his Moms the language primarily spoken is Vietnamese. My husband and in laws would like my Son- Ryan to learn Vietnamese. As would I.

As of now, Ryan is mostly with my Mom at home. When he is about 5 months he will go to his Ba's (my mother in laws) twice a week while we are at work. He will hear both languages and I love absolutely love for him to learn both + English. Is this possible and how will he not get confused. AND since I don't speak either will it be a problem? I'm sure many kids are Trilingual and I’m just wondering how this was accomplished? ALSO- Neither of my Step sons speak Vietnamese.
Thank you!

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I have no immediate experience with the duo-triple language thing, but have watched two of my brothers "teach" two languages to their children. One brother married an Italian woman, and one brother married a Taiwanese woman. Both moms spoke their native language to the children from birth, and the dad's spoke English. All my neices and nephews are fluent in both their languages. The only thing we didn't know going in is that some of the children were slow to speak (either language) initially. Apparently this is common in these situations. They could understand but wouldn't speak. Just be aware that this could happen but is NOT a problem. Between the two families they have 8 kids ranging from 6th grade to toddler and they are all extremely bright. (One slow to speak boy is now doing math with kids two grade up.) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.
Don't worry too much about it, kids brains are amazing !! they can pick up on all those languages at once..
My son went to a preschool that only spoke Spanish, then at home we spoke English , while at his Grandmother's , they spoke Italian.. He is now in 3rd grade, speaks beautiful English and is at the top of his class...However, I will say since schools primarily teach in English (especially private schools) I think it IS a good idea to teach a child English. I believe my son knowing good English and could read and write in English is what allows him to be such a good student. But I do think it's great to learn as many languages as possible, esp when young..

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I have no immediate experience with the duo-triple language thing, but have watched two of my brothers "teach" two languages to their children. One brother married an Italian woman, and one brother married a Taiwanese woman. Both moms spoke their native language to the children from birth, and the dad's spoke English. All my neices and nephews are fluent in both their languages. The only thing we didn't know going in is that some of the children were slow to speak (either language) initially. Apparently this is common in these situations. They could understand but wouldn't speak. Just be aware that this could happen but is NOT a problem. Between the two families they have 8 kids ranging from 6th grade to toddler and they are all extremely bright. (One slow to speak boy is now doing math with kids two grade up.) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I know you will get tons of great advice at this site. Have you thought of starting off with Baby Sign Language? I think it helps a great deal, especially with boys. My son became verbal early and I attribute it to all the things you are doing as well as the sign language. I received two Baby Einstein dvd's and one was Baby's First Signs. I also reinforced the basic signs in everyday life. It was amazing to watch him transition and start signing and then saying the word while signing at the same time. He spoke rather clearly for his age before he turned two and started speaking in nice long sentences before he was two and a half. Also, I consistently pointed to and said words of everyday things while walking around the house and outside with him as an infant. I will never forget the day my son started pointing to things and looking at me for me to say what it was. It's an amazing journey to watch communication develop from early on. Enjoy it and take notes on his first words and first signs. My son's first sign was for the word "more" while eating. He loves hearing me tell him stories of things he did when he was a baby and it's a great distraction tool right now when he is having a hard time during a terrible two kind of day. As far as the introduction of another language, the sooner the better. I did a bit of this with my son and I regret not being more consistent with it. I'm keeping at it thought.

All the best to you,

2 months old and you are worrying about learning to talk? You have a ways to go for that. =) Right now just play with him, talk TO him, love on him! Kiss his toe and SAY toe. Touch your nose, say nose. He wants to interact with YOU.

I consider your son VERY lucky! To live in a world where he could learn two languages is awesome, to live in a world where he could learn three?? WOW! He is a very, VERY lucky boy! Don't worry about him getting mixed up, he will learn very quickly who can understand him and who can't. I had friends that were in a very similar situation. At 2 their son would say sentences like "Mira (Spanish)the (English) fluge(German)!" Mom was German, Dad was Hispanic and they both spoke English together. By the time he was 4 he figured out that he needed to speak German with mom, Spanish with Dad and English with both of them...and he was fluent in all 3! Think about it. This little boy will do great things with that knowledge! Don't stifle it, encourage it! =)

Hi D.,

I can empathise with you. My daughter now 5yr is quadrilingual. I am a physician and I have also spoken to other doctors and my DD's pediatrician about multiplae languages being spoken to the kid. They all agree : expose them to as many languages as possible. small kids are like sponges. They will absorb whatever you expose them to.

Since my dd was a baby (day 1) I have been speaking my mother tongue (marathi) including my mom when she is around, my dh as well as my in laws have been speaking to her in Hindi and I insisted my neighbour speak to her in her mother tongue.
DD never had any problems. She does occasionally substitute english words or words from some other language when she doesn't know the appropriate word in one language. This is decreasing as her vocabulary increases.
She didn't know english till she started going to preschool where she picked it up. We ensured (her teachers also advised us) that we don't speak to her in english. She is growing up in US- she will speak english the moment she starts interacting with other people/ school.

This is long but I do want to encourage you.. your has a unique opportunity to be multi-lingual.
One of our married friend's son is also trilingual. The dad is indian- speaks marathi (he can speak to me in marathi when I talk with him), mom is Chinese and speak mandarin to him. he learnt Engish when he started going to preschool. He was able to translate for his parents when he was 2.5 yr!

So go ahead speak your respective languages to the baby. Baby will respond according to his age. I wouldn't put on TV for him. Just talking and reading is enough. He will pick up alll the languages.

Hope this helps. If you want to talk some more you can send me a personal message at ____@____.com

Hi there. I think this is wonderful. I am speaking 2 languages with my daughter, she is now 10 months old. Her pediatrician told me most kids handle this fine. If there is going to be confusion you will start to notice it around 18 months (I hope I am remembering the age correctly). He said at that point we would cut down just to one language. But he has seen lots of kids that learn 2 or 3 languages and would know what language to use with each person, without confusion. Pretty amazing.

First, contratulations on becoming a Mom!

Because this comes up in my Gymboree classes that I teach, I asked my pediatrician about babies learning languages and if there is a limit on the number that they can learn. Basically, he said no - not in the early years so it's great that your son will be exposed to different languages. The brain synapses that babies are born with are like sponges which is why it's so much easier for them to learn so many different things, including languages.

You should also look into Gymboree classes - there is a level 1 for babies under 6 months. There is alot of learning that goes on within the basic 45 minute Gymboree class. Also, in our Lafayette site, we now offer a full immersion Family Gymboree class in Spanish.

I don't know where you live but you can get information about Gymboree at www.gymboreeclasses.com.

J. F.

Hi D.
Don't worry too much about it, kids brains are amazing !! they can pick up on all those languages at once..
My son went to a preschool that only spoke Spanish, then at home we spoke English , while at his Grandmother's , they spoke Italian.. He is now in 3rd grade, speaks beautiful English and is at the top of his class...However, I will say since schools primarily teach in English (especially private schools) I think it IS a good idea to teach a child English. I believe my son knowing good English and could read and write in English is what allows him to be such a good student. But I do think it's great to learn as many languages as possible, esp when young..

Save your money!!! You all will do a terrific job of teaching him the languages better than any taped system!

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