Will learning two languages cause speech or language problems?
No. Children all over the world learn more than one language without developing speech or language problems. Bilingual children develop language skills just as other children do.
What should I expect when my child learns more than one language?
Every bilingual child is unique. Developing skills in two languages depends on the quality and amount of experience the child has using both languages. The following are some basic guidelines:
•Like other children, most bilingual children speak their first words by the time they are 1 year old (e.g., "mama" or "dada"). By age 2, most bilingual children can use two-word phrases (e.g., "my ball" or "no juice"). These are the same language developmental milestones seen in children who learn only one language.
•From time to time, children may mix grammar rules, or they might use words from both languages in the same sentence. This is a normal part of bilingual language development.
•When a second language is introduced, some children may not talk much for a while. This "silent period" can sometimes last several months. Again, this is normal and will go away.
If my child is having trouble communicating, should we use only one language?
In this case, it's best to talk to your child in the language you're most comfortable with. This is true even if he or she uses a different language at school. But try not to make a sudden change in your child's routine. This can be stressful.
Children who are having problems in both languages may need professional help.