A few questions are very common from parents who are raising their child to be bilingual, or considering a language immersion school.
We would love to clear up some common misconceptions and give you a better idea of what to expect!
How can I teach my child to be bilingual?
You can use two languages from the start, or even speak one language to your child until they enter a language immersion school of your choice where they will begin to learn the second language. Either way, make sure they get plenty of exposure to both languages with opportunities to hear and practice each of them!
Will learning another language cause or worsen speech and language difficulties?
NO! Children learn 2 languages all around the world. Learning a second language will not create or worse speech and language difficulties. If you notice a delay or difficulty in both of the languages that your child is learning, consult a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for an evaluation of language development. Often an underlying language or speech difficulty will be present in both learned languages.
My child was developing typically, but all of the sudden they stopped speaking!
A common phenomena of children who are learning two language is to experience what we as SLPs call "The Silent Period". During this time your child is absorbing the information around them. Learning two languages is a complex process that requires a lot of focus. This period is typically triggered when young language learners come to realization that their home language is different then the one spoken at school/daycare, or vice versa. They then spend this time digesting the language around them. This period can last anywhere from one month to six months before they gradually start going public with their second language. As always, if you are concerned, seek out an SLP for a full evaluation of speech and language development.