All too often, when looking at creating exposure in the minority language for our children, we limit ourselves to material designed for children. Times and times again, on Facebook groups or forums, I see first time bilingual parents looking for children-orientated music or programmes. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad thing. However, exposure does not mean it has to be child-targeted. Its sense is much broader. In fact, broader is better if you ask me; and here is why:
- Broader vocabulary.
- They get to learn the actual name of things, and not baby words (sheep and not ba-ba, for example).
- Diversity of language and topics is more representative of real life.
- Less mentally exhausting for parents (there is only so much nursery rhymes a parent can put up with in a day!).
- We think that children will not listen if it is not targeted to them, yet this is a misconception. How many times do children catch an adult saying something they did not want the kids to hear? That is because children’s ears catch a lot more than us. Children are multi-tasking where we adults often focus on one thing. More than once, my kids have commented on what they overheard on the radio.
- We infantilise children way too often. Developing their general knowledge is a good thing and exposing them to varied content will benefit their knowledge of the world.
- Transmission of general minority culture, and not just children minority culture although it is obviously important.
- Children can pick up some of your tastes, which can give rise to nice discussions and bonding moments.
- Children can learn lyrics of grown-up songs they like – My daughters really like a Spanish singer we listen to in the car and now try to pick up the lyrics on every car ride. Not only do they learn to parrot the words, but it gives rise to discussions as to what they mean and what the song is trying to say. A sort of poetry lesson in a nutshell. They have also requested for me to print the lyrics, so as to understand them better and be able to sing along more effectively.
- It broadens their mind, because the more you expose them to the world the more they will learn.
So, what should you listen to? Well, anything in fact! Obviously, anything that is family friendly, nothing that might shock your child. 😉 This may be:
- Standard radio
- ml music
- Podcasts – both children and adult
- Audio-books – both children and adult
Anything really. And that is such good news, because it just widens your options, not only making your life easier with less material research to be done, but also giving you more pleasure listening to material that is of interest to you.
Any other suggestions of ml material? Please share them in the Comment section!