Dr. Anke Buschmann, Frühinterventionszentrum, Heidelberg Dr. Ann-Katrin Bockmann, Universität Hildesheim M. Sc. Psych. Ellen Radtke, Universität Hildesheim Dr. Steffi Sachse, Transferzentrum für Neurowissenschaften und Lernen, Ulm Dipl.-Päd. Bettina Jooss, Frühinterventionszentrum, Heidelberg Gefördert von der Günter-Reimann-Dubbers-Stiftung

Kinderärztliche Praxis
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozialpädiatrie und Jugendmedizin e.V.

Soziale Pädiatrie und Jugendmedizin

Speech Ability from the Word Go ­ Factsheet U7
Advice on dealing with a multilingual family environment
Dear Parent!
Speech development will be the main focus of your child's development in the first two years ­ your child will not be developing faster in any other area. In the following, we will be looking at some ways you can help your child develop speech and deal with different languages. IfneitherlanguageisGerman,you shouldexposeyourchildtoGerman atthispoint. Your child will find it easiest to learn German together with Germanspeaking children, so it would be a very good idea to get your child into a day-care centre or playgroup early to give your child a chance to learn German every day. er your child has been growing up in a monolingual or multilingual environment. Your child should be able to say at least fifty words at twenty-four months; however, this might take a little longer for children learning more than one language, which is perfectly normal. Talk to your paediatrician if you're worried about your child's speech development; your paediatrician will be able to find out whether your child has hearing problems and help you in further steps.

If your child has almost only grown up with your family language so far
Keepusingyourfamilylanguagewith yourchild. Soon, your child will have good command of his or her first language, putting your child into an excellent position to learn a second language. Takefrequentopportunitiestoexpose yourchildtoGerman. Take your child to a German-speaking playgroup at least once a week; if you can take your child to a regular day-care centre, so much the better ­ children usually learn German very quickly there. Don'tworryifyourchildmakesalot ofmistakesinGermanatfirst. This is perfectly normal. As your child's German skills improve, so will pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

Is your child speaking too little?
Children learn language at varying speeds. Some children have a vocabulary of a hundred to two hundred words, and can already form simple sentences at the same time as others can still only say a few words ­ regardless of wheth-

What your child can already do
From the twenty-fourth month Say at least fifty words Form simple sentences such as: ,,Baby go bo-bo"

How you can help your child's speech development
Finishoffincompletesentencesfromyourchild. Children make a lot of mistakes when they start to form sentences. That is perfectly normal. You can help your child by completing incomplete sentences in the way they should be ­ that will make your child happy and motivated while hearing the right sentence. Here are two examples: Picking up on a child's expression and repeating the sentence. Child: ,,Car." Parent: ,,Yes, a car. The car's going."

If your child has been growing up in a multilingual environment
Don'tworryifyourchildmixesup languages. Multilingual children very often mix up their languages, at first substituting words and grammatical constructions of which the child does not yet have perfect command in the one language with those of the other. Later, they will usually only mix up languages ­ or switch ­ when amongst people that also all speak both languages. This shows that your child is very good at dealing with more than one language.

Indirectly correct mistakes by repeating a good sentence. Child: ,,Cor goin'." Parent: ,,Right, the car's going." Remember not to demand that your child repeat the sentence, and avoid criticism. Passonthejoyofspeechtoyourchild. Children especially enjoy finger games and movement songs such as ,,This is straight and that is crooked". Lookatpicturebookswithyourchild,andhaveyourchildtellyouwhat's onthepage. Books without words are particularly good for multilingual families. Childrenneeddirectcontacttoparentsandotherchildrentolearnto speak. Watching TV is not enough to learn a language.

© Kirchheim-Verlag, Mainz, 2011