One of the unique benefits of hosting an au pair is the opportunity it provides for the children (and the host parents, if they’re so inclined) to learn or further develop their skills in an international language. Many au pairs utilize books, songs and games when helping to share their native languages with host children, and the fun, daily language exposure helps children to absorb and retain these language lessons.
Community Counselor Robin Leon from Austin, TX, was recently a guest blogger for Tandem Speech Therapy, a pediatric speech therapy practice based in Austin. She provided a top ten list on introducing a new language to your family. Her article is excerpted below:
“Why does Ana talk that way?
We had run into one of the au pairs I work with at the playground, and my preschool-age son had questions. He wanted to know why Ana pronounced ‘like’ as ‘like-EE’ and ‘skipped’ as ‘skip-id.’
‘Why doesn’t she speak English gooder?’ – talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This opened the door for an important conversation. I asked my son how many languages he spoke (yep, just the one), and then explained to him that Ana spoke three – her native Portuguese, English, and a bit of Spanish too. We talked about how brave she was to move away from her family in Brazil to live with a family in America, and how practicing English every day would make her language skills even stronger.
The importance of exposing your child to other languages really hit home that day. The language itself is part of it, sure, but broadening your child’s multicultural horizons is really the name of the game. One of our most important jobs as parents is helping our children understand that there’s a whole big world out there – full of different people, languages, and cultures.”
Read Robin’s Top Ten Tips for introducing your family to a new language!
Learn more about the educational benefits that hosting an au pair could provide for your children.