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Your 2-year-old now
Since your child is picking up English so rapidly, you might wonder if now's also the time to expose him to other languages. There's evidence that children learn languages more easily in the early years because their brains are so feverishly making new neural connections. They can literally hear all the unique sounds of a foreign tongue better than a teenager or an adult. Kids who grow up in a bilingual household are thought to have a combined vocabulary that is equivalent to or greater than that of monolingual children, and being bilingual has been shown to have lasting cognitive benefits.
The catch is that the best way for your child to learn a language now is through conversation with a native speaker. Tapes or weekly classes are less effective, because it's the face-to-face observations and repetition that help the brain most. Your child is also far more likely to retain the second language if continuously exposed to it as he grows. Chinese lessons only from ages 2 to 4 will not make your child proficient at 18. Some research, though, shows there may be a brain-connection boost, even if your child never becomes fluent.
If you like the idea of exposing your preschooler to another language, look for translations of popular children's books to read together. If your child's babysitter is bilingual, encourage her to speak her native language with your child.
Your life now
It's not unusual for the parent of a preschooler to wake up one day and realize that even her adult conversations revolve almost exclusively around ... preschoolers. Jump-start your brain by having a "kid-free meal" with friends or your partner – no children present either physically or verbally. Take some time for self care. Consider signing up for a class or a book club (though book clubs made up of moms are notorious for veering right back to kid talk after a brief chat about, you know, the book).
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