The ability to learn a language is natural and almost instinctive up to the age of eight. Therefore, the best way for children to grow up bilingual is to introduce them to the two languages in his daily life from birth.
From birth to the age of eight, children's brains are at their most plastic. This is the best time to teach children more than one language so they can adopt both as their own. When they are very young they barely have to make an effort to learn two languages at the same time. If you speak two different languages at home, the child will assimilate them instinctively.
If parents decide to raise their children as bilingual it's best to start as soon as possible. Babies' brains are born with millions of cells that control the ability to speak. As the child hears a language, the cells connect naturally and easily to shape his ability to speak it. By the age of 10, these cells are perfectly engaged with one another, concluding one of the most important stages of human development. From this age, the ability to learn a language is no longer intuitive. However, languages can still be learnt with a lot of time and effort. Therefore, it's best to make use of the ability that children are born with and introduce them to more than one language before this ability is consolidated (between the ages of 8 and 10).
There are two options for encouraging bilingualism in children. 1. Each parent can speak to the child in a different language (this usually occurs in marriages of people of different nationalities or when the parents are also bilingual). 2. Send the child to a kindergarten or school that has a bilingual education program.
Encouraging bilingualism from an early age has great advantages:
Promoting bilingualism at home
According to experts, the best way for a child to learn more than one language is for each parent to speak a different language to the child from birth. This is because numerous linguistic stimuli are needed to reach native-level proficiency in a language.
If you don't have the option of each parent speaking a different language at home, you will need to send your child to an educational facility that has a bilingual program. However, if this is not an option either, there is the option of bilingual schools or native-speaking carers. There are also a number of things you can do at home outside of class hours: