I WAS BORN IN THE NETHERLANDS. Because of our small population of just 17 million, I’ve always been exposed to a second language — not many people speak my own. Five years ago, my Argentinian husband and I became grateful parents of a little girl. That was the start of our duo-lingual family. We never really discussed how to teach our native language to our child, though we were convinced of the so-called ‘One Person One Language’ approach. This means that the parents consistently speak only their native language to their child. In my case, I spoke Dutch and my husband spoke Spanish. It was very important to us that our daughter learn both languages so that she could communicate with her grandparents and learn about our separate heritages.
Nowadays, more and more monolingual parents are deciding to expose their children to a second language, whether it is from their own teachings or an outside instructor or caregiver, like an au pair. Whatever your approach, here is why my husband and I were successful nurturing our little linguist.