If you have family in the Philippines -- or family members who speak Filipino -- it's understandable that you’ll want your little one to learn to speak it, too. Short of shipping your child off to the islands, there are several steps you can take to help her learn enough Filipino to tickle Lola (Grandma) pink next time she visits. Young children are like sponges when it comes to learning a second language -- and can soak up new words and phrases with ease when compared to an adult learning the same language, explains the American Education Research Association.
Speak only Filipino at home, if you can swing it. Small children absorb language through massive amounts of input and exposure.
Have one parent or a grandparent in the household speak to your little one only in Filipino. This method is proven as effective and doesn't confuse the child, explains Center for Applied Linguistics. Children who grow up in homes where two languages are spoken, usually learn both simultaneously.
Take time for an extended visit to the Philippines or have family visit you for at least a month -- and only speak Filipino during that visit.
Other Language Teaching Methods
Read stories to your child in Filipino. Try to find the books at your local library, ask family members to send them to you, or order them online.
Play Filipino music -- and encourage your child to sing along with you. You can find music online or have family send it to you.
Teach your little one Filipino nursery rhymes and popular children's songs. The Internet is a good source, but your family and friends might also have some suggestions.
Watch age-appropriate Filipino language DVDs and children's videos that you find online, at your public library, or get from family or friends.
Find ways for your child to interact with other children who speak or are learning to speak Filipino. You can arrange play dates, or enroll your little one in community center or preschool programs, if your community offers them.
Video chat with family or friends who can speak to your child in Filipino.
Find some age-appropriate computer language activities for your little one. Northern Illinois University offers Filipino language activities for kids online as part of their SEAsite project (www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Tagalog_mainpage.htm).