Do I personally think that it’s a good idea for my daughter to learn a second language? Theoretically, yes. I, along with almost any other parent, do not wish to see my child at the bottom of the pack in whatever future global competitive job market that she’ll encounter. Where does this question arise? I know of a friend who has a child that is tri-lingual, her daughter speaks English, Arabic, and Spanish. This, of course, makes me feel anxious that my kid is going to be left in the multi-cultural dust.
And this I think is the reason why toy manufacturers have jumped on the bilingual bandwagon with toys like these:
Of course you can buy them just for simple exposure to another language or culture, but if you truly want to teach your child another language, don’t even think that these toys will do the trick.
It’s better to get some flashcards, books or other learning materials and start teaching your child the basics of the language. But I also recommend a) having someone fluent in the language speak to your child on a regular basis or failing that, b) classes. I’m doing both after I enroll Peaches on her language class (which I think is part of Poveda’s curriculum).
Let’s face it, your child is not going to become fluent in Spanish just because she presses a few buttons once or twice a day that sing “ayudame” and “uno.” Admittedly, Peaches has gotten few Spanish words and lines from Cartoon shows like Dora and Handy Manny. But if you want conversational skills for your child, never really on toys and shows. Trust me on this one.