Yes. I believe in limited screen time but I also believe in the benefits of introducing languages and cultures to children at a young age. Of course the best vehicle for a new language in your home is a native speaker but that’s not always an option for everyone. There are however, cartoons and shows especially for children and certain shows open our eyes and particularly our ears to other languages. Scan the local offerings in your area and if there aren’t interesting or age-appropriate shows on free stations then consider subscribing to cable shows. For the price of a movie rental you can often get a month’s worth of cartoons. Mecanimals and Harry Y Su Cubeta de Dinosaurios are favorites in our household but there are so many to choose from. National Geographic also offers “Toot & Puddle” about two piglets. One travels the world and the other stays at home – showing benefits of both. For english-speakers Toot & Puddle offers a wonderful view of international travel and cultural experiences but you can also watch the show in spanish and other languages. For a link to the National Geographic Site and Toot & Puddle click here. Again, we all want to limit screen time in our household and everyone has to determine what works for them. Hearing the sound and assimilating to a new language should be part of every childhood.
Books in foreign languages can be a great way to introduce your child to different cultures. Many libraries carry an assortment of picture books in Spanish, French and Mandarin. Even if your child is well past the picture book stage, they may still enjoy reading and identifying new words. Next time you’re at the local library, pick out one of their favorite books and have fun reading it in a new language. I’m a big fan of the bi-lingual story-times too!