Teaching a Toddler to Be Multilingual–Aap Kaise Ho (How Are you)? Me Thik Hu (I’m Fine)!
We all looked on in astonishment after Amaya instantly repeated her Amma (grandmother in Hindi) say these words. Amaya was so afire from all the attention and praise that she again belted out, “Aap Kaise Ho? And everyone leaped into a fit of giggles replying, “Me Thik Hu!” She then eagerly retorted, “I’m Fine, I’m Fine!” In less than a minute she had learned a basic phrase and a common reply in Hindi and was now communicating with her relatives in Gurgaon, India.
This was the first time Amaya and I had met her extended family in India. Amaya was not accustomed to hearing these new phrases on a daily or consistent basis. Nonetheless she had mastered the correct pronunciation of her familial tongue on her father’s side in India. My father-in-law and mother-in-law then indicated that Amaya would effortlessly learn Hindi in India. My Indian husband and I (an African-American woman) have thought about those words since our departure from India. Those words have been imprinted in our minds.
We live in the U.S. and have been working on Amaya’s mastery of English with occasional book and flash card Hindi lessons on numbers and nouns. Of which, I honestly on many occasions have to make sure I am pronouncing correctly because of a necessary nasal element to the Hindi word. I know from my own experience of being fluent in Spanish that it is an arduous process that takes many years because my exposure to the language was limited. It is not a language that my parents speak at home but one I wanted to learn. And even my attempts to learn Hindi via Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone were inadequate (see Worth It? Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone or). In 30 minutes time via a Pimsleur CD, I had learned some basic conversational phases akin to what my daughter had mastered in a minute. Yet using these language tools were not enough for me to become fluent in Hindi or hold a meaningful conversation with her relatives in India.
FINDING MORE TODDLER HINDI LANGUAGE RESOURCES
We want our daughter, Amaya who is now 2.5 year of age to not only be fluent in English, and Hindi, but also Spanish. And since my `husband travels extensively during the week for work I find myself being our daughter’s primary care taker and language coach. As a family, we have ventured to dozens of book stores and attended Indian festivals in NC to get educational learning tools in Hindi for kids. After finding primarily books and flashcards to help enhance her learning of Hindi I came across a site called 3 Curious Monkeys. 3 Curious Monkeys is an engaging Indian cultural learning site that Amaya is now enamored with. So much so that when I try to turn their multilingual app off she exclaims, “Mom I need more!” Similar to Dora the Explorer, 3 Curious Monkeys turns screen time into learning time via a multilingual app so that Amaya can learn new Hindi phrases and explore more about Indian culture. I’m excited as a parent to find a site like this one and perhaps if you have been searching for an Indian cultural learning tool for your kids like I have it will be of great use to you. We are still on the hunt for others. In the meantime, find them at http://3curiousmonkeys.com/.
Are you a parent trying to teach your child to be bilingual or multilingual? What resources have you found and/or tried? Post a comment below and feel free to share. All thoughts are my own this post is not sponsored.