January 30, 2018 ∙ 9 minutes reading time
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
Present in Europe and on the entire American continent, it is one of the most popular alongside English major languages in the world.
So it makes perfect sense to introduce your child to the Spanish language.
But when should children start learning Spanish?? Is there a special age when children are particularly sensitive to foreign languages??
And are there scientific theories on the subject of age and age limits in language learning, e.g. learning Spanish for beginners?
Are you concerned with these questions? Then you will find the right answers here.
There is no minimum age to learn Spanish
Many parents ask themselves whether their child can learn a foreign language.
And whether that is possible at all if you are not yourself Growing up with two languages is or has a direct family connection to the Spanish language.
And there may also be doubts as to whether your knowledge is sufficient to teach your child Spanish.
Similarly, many parents wonder if a child is not overwhelmed when it learns two languages, such as German and Spanish. Do you expect too much from a small child??
We address all of these questions in this article and can say in advance that linguists have found out, that there is no minimum age to learn Spanish.
Having two languages in the cradle is very lucky. | Source: Pixabay
Specialists who dealt with language learning in early childhood could never find a "top starting point" for learning a language.
Rather, it is recommended from birth on, You should be able to start with another language besides German.
Because, as described in this interesting article by ZEIT, which deals with this topic, the ability of children to learn a foreign language from the first year onwards is completely accent-free.
At the beginning you can still perceive any of the more than 100 speech sounds in the world, but then you concentrate on the sounds that are spoken around you. The rest can no longer be perceived.
The Roles in the family should be clearly distributed. Either one parent always speaks in Spanish and the other in German, or both in Spanish, if that is possible.
Switching from one language to another (starting from one person) is discouraged, as the child could mix up the languages and mix later.
The languages should therefore be clearly projectable onto people.
Once the roles have been divided, you should speak to your child in Spanish without interruption in the early years. You will do him a great favor later.
In the first few years, your child will listen to your words and train their hearing. The Spanish pronunciation will thus internalize it.
If your language distribution is such that one parent speaks German, your child can from the bottom up to bilingual in German and Spanish.
If both parents speak Spanish with the child and live in Germany, the acquisition of the German language is delayed a bit, but ultimately the mother tongue even benefits from the foreign language or second mother tongue, as studies have shown.
As soon as your child is in a German daycare center (or German-Spanish daycare center) and has German friends around, it will be bilingual in no time.
That has long been Bilingualism has also been discovered as an educational opportunity.
It is scientifically proven that children who already speak two languages at an early age can learn new languages faster and process information faster.
Discover here how your children can learn Spanish online.
The prime example: German-Spanish families
For those of you who have no Spanish roots, it is advisable to take an example from these bilingual families.
The quality of man is to impart knowledge. Bilingual families often do this automatically when their children are born.
The father and mother decide to communicate in their mother tongues so that the child can grow up in a bilingual environment.
Anyone who has grandma and grandpa in Spain or South America is lucky. But learning Spanish can also work without a family abroad. | Source. pixabay
Due to globalization, international exchange and travel, there are more and more international families who come from different cultures, sometimes with more than 2 languages.
You probably also know people who grew up bilingual or children of immigrants with dual citizenship. Many of you speak two languages perfectly.
The success of a bilingual education at the age of 4 becomes visible.
According to experts, a 4-year-old can determine whether he actually has above-average knowledge of another language in addition to German.
The child is this age able to clearly separate two languages. If bilingualism is successful, it can easily change from one language to another depending on the language environment (German or Spanish environment).
German is then usually identified as the main language. And Spanish as a second mother tongue.
Also in the context of a preschool discussion at the age of 4 1/2 – 5 years with the KITA and the assigned school, the language skills in German and other languages are discussed with a questionnaire.
7 year olds with Spanish as their mother tongue
We have just identified 2 pillars of language development.
First pillar: the birth. Parents who have the desire and the opportunity to raise their child bilingually should definitely use it and do not hesitate to speak Spanish with their baby. This trains the child’s hearing and shapes his speech environment.
The second stage is the age of 4 years. At this age, children can clearly separate two languages.
The last pillar is set at the age of 7. Until then, it is advisable to have taught your child Spanish at the mother tongue level. Linguists and researchers have found that the brain reaches its full maturity at the age of 7 has reached.
After that, it is of course not too late, but learning a language is more difficult.
However, the child will no longer be able to learn Spanish intuitively. In order to be able to go into this point further, we treat the famous one below "Critical Period Hypothesis ".
What can you as parents draw from the above points for a quintessence?
If we could give you some advice, it would be this: don’t wait for your child to speak German first and then speak Spanish to them!
If it is your deepest wish to give your child an intuitive language background, it is best to start with it in the first years of his life.
Introducing a foreign language at 3 years old
We have already given some tips on how to learn Spanish in early childhood, but here are some more tips:
If you live in a city, you may have the opportunity to have your children in one German-Spanish children’s institution to give.
The educators of bilingual daycare centers are made up of native German and Spanish speakers.
Children learn from other children. German-Spanish children’s institutions and children’s events are additional motivation for learning Spanish. | Source: Pixabay
The places for these facilities are often very competitive. Children with parents who are also bilingual are preferred.
But also Spanish or Latin American childminders offer your services and can, for example, on platforms such as betreut.de being found.
Another option is a Spanish-language AU Pair to claim something. If you have the resources and the space to take in a childcare provider, you can choose which country he or she should come from and ask him or her to speak to your child in Spanish.
You also have the following option: Germany has a variety of Training centers for foreign languages. They are mainly found in the big cities in Germany.
Even though many are more interested in middle school students, students, professionals and pensioners, there are more and more institutes that are aimed at children.
In all institutes that offer lessons for children, it is also possible to take Spanish courses (more playful introduction than lessons) from 3 years of age.
For the little ones there will be a tutorial designed which one in a playful way The Spanish language brings closer, for example, through songs, drawings, games, cartoons and other media.
Language courses for children in Spanish cannot be compared to normal classes. | Source: Pixabay
The child thus has his first contact with the Spanish language very early on and learns words, numbers and colors.
For parents who did not dare to speak Spanish to their child in the first few years, these Spanish courses for children are a very useful and effective alternative.
After that there are still 4 years to deepen the knowledge until the famous maturity phase is reached.
Important: it should be clear to the child in the coming years why he is learning this language. If it is never used, the child will not feel any motivation to use or improve it later.
It is easiest of course if you have a Spanish family, but also a vacation in Spain, a bilingual German – Spanish daycare center or a Spanish childminder, just like a Spanish friend who often visits you can already have one quality and provide logical motivation for your child to learn and speak Spanish.
Spanish language course for young children: the Cervantes Institute
The Instituto Cervantes can be found in many major cities in Germany.
The Institute for Spanish Language Promotion of the Spanish State offers not only young people and adults the opportunity to learn Spanish, but also the little ones with a specially designed playful and emotionally oriented children’s program.
There are Spanish courses from 3 years and thematic workshops (Theater, musical stories, rumba) and summer camps.
Now children can really do theater! How about theater in Spanish? | Source: Pixabay
The institutes also regularly offer Free Spanish learning events for children and young people in their libraries, such as poems for weights (for children from 0-3 years) and storytelling for children.
Beautiful and playful moments organized by Spanish professionals to bring your child closer to Spanish.
Do you know the hypothesis of the critical period in the acquisition of second languages?
In another article, we put ourselves in the role of some people who wondered: "I am too old to learn Spanish?". An article that deals with exactly the opposite of this article, but is still complementary.
We mainly focused on one argument to understand when the learning of the Spanish language or another foreign language becomes more complicated for us humans.
Earlier in the article, we talked about the 7th birthday and full maturity of the brain. Now we want to find out what the hypothesis of the critical period in language acquisition is all about.
It is a theory that originated in the 1960s that says it is a biological time window in which language acquisition is straightforward, whereas outside of this period it is more difficult to learn a second language.
The work of linguist and neurologist Eric Lenneberg on the "Critical period hypothesis" even shows that the ideal time for learning a second language between 2 years and the beginning of the puberty lies.
We would like to refer to his work, but also point out that this concept of the critical period remains very controversial.
German – Spanish Bilingual: an advantage in the long run
In this article you have now discovered several arguments and tips regarding early learning of the Spanish language.
You can take it in your own hands or leave it to a Spanish expert.
If you can offer your child the advantage of multilingualism, be it through a Spanish family or another Spanish connection, you should not hesitate, because bilingualism has been discovered as a new educational opportunity these days.
Learning many other important languages in Europe besides Spanish is sure to be easier for your child. | Source: Pixabay
In this case, you have to spare your child laborious vocabulary learning at school and years of training in the second language.
And above all, as a German – Spanish parent couple, you have to prepare for your child to ask you later why she didn’t learn both languages. A legitimate question because Multilingualism is becoming increasingly important in our society.
If you teach your child in Spanish from an early age, you indirectly give him the opportunity as an adult to become trilingual. English will definitely learn it at school and it will be easier for him at best.
During your child’s schooling, all attention will be focused on learning English. And if your child is a real linguistic genius, there may be a fourth language, like French.
Today’s little "effort" could mean tomorrow’s "big extra" for your child.
Your child, who learns the Spanish language from an early age, will later even be able to reach native language level or at best comes to the point of dreaming in Spanish!
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