Menu

In years past, many researchers were of the opinion that


early exposure to two languages could have detrimental impacts on children’s

language and cognitive development.

It is true that children who are learning

to speak two languages may temporarily have smaller vocabularies for each of

the languages.

However, the overwhelming benefits of exposure to multiple languages in early childhood may be enough to throw caution to the wind and start promoting bilingualism with your little one!

Your bundle of joy is born with an innate ability to discern

tiny differences in the speech sounds of every human language. However, without exposure

FEATURED VIDEO

to these different sounds, your baby’s developing brain will lose the ability

to perceive differences among these sounds by 6 months of age.

This is one

way your baby’s developing brain can focus on making strong connections for the

language that will be used throughout his life, and one way to weed out

connections that are simply taking up precious neural real estate.

Of course, if your tot is consistently exposed to a

language, phonological awareness of that language’s sounds will be

retained.

Early (and sustained) exposure to more than one language may make it easier for your little one to learn multiple languages later in childhood.

Plus, exposure to multiple languages can

have positive

effects in other domains of your little one’s development. For instance, many

children learning two languages with the same letters and symbols (e.g.,

English and German) learn to read faster than children learning only one

language.

Bilingual children also exhibit cognitive advantages on many verbal

and non-verbal attention tasks.

Some families are fortunate to have more than

one language present in a household (lucky ducks!). For those of us living in

monolingual households, here are five simple ideas for exposing our babes to

languages early in life to promote bilingualism and the accompanying cognitive

benefits…

Books on tape…err, app.

Pick a time of day when you are not typically exposing your

tot to your native language (when you are in a laundry-folding Zen, perhaps?)

and fill the gap with an audio book in another language.

Or choose a different

language for each day of the week. Anyone up for French Fridays and Swedish

Sundays? For a variety of free multi-language audio books, we love the LibriVox

app!

The building blocks of language.

Promote language learning while your tot perfects those fine

motor skills with a few bilingual-themed toys. We are in love with Uncle Goose blocks

in a variety of languages.

Building towers with your little one might just

build on your foreign language skills

as well!

I saw the signs.

Although the verdict is still out on the potential

developmental benefits of using baby sign language to communicate with your

little one, research does show that baby

signs can help you bond with baby through more effective communication.

Start with a few basic signs, like more, help, and thank you.

Or, brush up on your American sign language and go through the ASL alphabet

as you two practice your ABC’s.

Sing. Sing a song.

Plenty

of classic nursery rhymes and songs have similar versions in foreign languages.

Try “Imse Vimse Spindel

(aka “Itsy Bitsy Spider”) in Swedish or “Frère Jacques” in French.

Or,

if you want your little one to listen to native speakers (or have no desire to

look silly in front of your tot), sing (or lip sync) along with online songs

and videos.

Books for bébé.

Read books with your babe that promote a knowledge of other languages and cultures.

Even if you aren’t bilingual, mama, we would bet that

one of your own childhood favorites is available in another language. No need

to translate Buenas Noches, Luna when you have Goodnight Moon memorized!

We also love What is Your Language?, the story of

a boy who visits countries around the world and learns about languages along

the way.

Giving your child the opportunity to hear and learn new

languages isn’t just about cognitive development. It’s about gleaning a broader

understanding of the world and, more importantly, about having fun interacting

with your little language aficionado!

Our babies come out as beautiful, soft and natural as can be—shouldn't their clothes follow suit?

Here are nine of our favorite organic kids clothing brands that prove safe fabrics + stylish designs are a natural fit.

Estella

A brick and mortar store in Manhattan that opened in 2002, Estella is NYC's go-to shop for luxury baby gifts—from sweet-as-pie organic clothing to eco-friendly toys.

L'ovedbaby

@lovedbaby

We l'oved this collection from the moment we laid eyes on it. (See what we did there 🤣) Free of things harsh added chemicals, dangerous flame retardants, and harmful dyes, this collection is 100% organic and 100% gorgeous. We especially adore their soft, footed rompers, comfy cotton joggers, and newborn-friendly kimono bodysuits.

Looking to stock up? Don't miss Big-Find Thursday every week on their site—a 24-hour flash sale that happens Thursdays at 9 a.m. PST and features a different body style, collection, and discount every week!

Hanna Andersson

@happyhannas

One of our all-time favorite brands for durability, style, + customer service, Hanna Andersson doesn't disappoint in the organic department, either. From an aww-inducing organic baby layette collection all the way to their iconic pajamas, there are so many organic styles to swoon over from this beloved brand. And we swear their pajamas are magic—they seem to grow with your little one, fitting season after season!

Monica + Andy

@monicaandandy

The fabric you first snuggle your baby in matters. Monica + Andy's (gorgeous) collection is designed for moms and babies by moms with babies, and we love it all because it's made of super-soft GOTS-certified organic cotton that's free of chemicals, lead, and phthalates. Newborn pieces feature thoughtful details like fold-over mittens and feet.

Finn + Emma

@finnandemma

"Here boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past while modern colors, fresh prints and heirloom quality construction are abundant." We couldn't agree more. Made from 100% organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, and in fair trade settings, we love this modern collection's mix of style + sustainability.

We especially love the Basics Collection, an assortment of incredibly soft, beautiful apparel + accessories including bodysuits, zip footies, pants, hats, and bibs, all available in a gender-neutral color palette that can work together to create multiple outfit combinations. The pieces are perfect for monochrome looks or for mixing with prints for a more modern style.

SoftBaby

@littleaddigrey for @softbaby_clothes

You'll come for SoftBaby's organic fabrics, but you'll stay for their adorable assortment of prints. From woodland foxes to urban pugs, there's no limit to their assortment (meaning you'll even be able to find something for the new mama who's hard to shop for). Plus, the name says it all--these suckers are soft. Get ready for some serious cuddle time.

Gap Baby

@gapkids

Organic may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Gap, but this popular brand actually carries a wide variety of organic (and adorable) baby + toddler clothes. From newborn layette basics to toddler sleepwear—and more—there's something for everyone in this collection. Everything is 100% cotton, super soft + cozy, and perfect for eco-conscious mamas.

Winter Water Factory

@winterwaterfactory

Certified organic cotton with Brooklyn-based swagger? Be still our hearts. Winter Water Factory features screen-printed textiles in bold designs you'll want to show off (get ready for some major Instagram likes). And the husband-and-wife co-founders keep sustainability at the forefront of their brand, meaning you can feel good about your purchase--and what you're putting on your baby.

The company makes everything from kids' clothes to crib sheets (all made in the USA). For even more cuteness, pair their signature rompers with a hat or bonnet.

Under the Nile

@underthenile

Under the Nile has been making organic baby clothes since before it was cool. Seriously, they were the first baby clothing company in the USA to be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. They've kept up that legacy of high standards by growing their Egyptian cotton on a biodynamic farm without the use of pesticides or insecticides, and all of their prints are made with metal-free colors and no chemical finishes.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Shop

How much time our kids spend in front of a screen is something we have almost always been “strict" about in our household.

Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play