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5 mom + baby activities to promote early bilingualism

Boost cognitive development in your 3-month-old bébé with these easy bilingual activities.

5 mom + baby activities to promote early bilingualism

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

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!

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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