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Paulo Ribeiro
Professional Teacher
Teaching English to a baby. Is it a good idea?Is it possible for a non native?



From the information I have gathered from books, there are several ways to teach a child a second language. I will try to speak with her in English as my wife and the rest of the family will speak Portuguese. It is a challenge for me, as I am not fluent in English myself. That’s why I will need help from the community.
I realize that I need to improve my English before I can do this, but I think I need to start anyway. If I wait until I am fluent to begin teaching my child English I will probably not teach her at all.I need help finding better teaching strategies.

She is a healthy baby and likes to play all the time. Since she was 1 month old I decided to try to teach her English. I started to sing some nursery rhymes that I had found on the Internet. I also bought a book on Amazon, about how to raise bilingual children. I also downloaded some videos of some nursery rhymes and I sing with her.

My outcome/My experience
My baby girl is 1 and a half years old. After trying to speaking to her in English and singing her nursery songs, the first things she asks for in the morning is for her “shoes” in English. She has also started saying “bus” when I bring the toy bus to her and sing “The wheels of the bus go round and round". I suppose (that) this isn't "real" English that she has learned as she is only substituting a couple word in Portuguese words for the word “shoes”, but it is fun anyway (or: its still fun). I am doing all of this without any idea of how it should be done.


Jan 22, 2015 2:03 AM
Comments · 9

I just wanted to drop by to say hello. Yesterday, I was giving my daughter a bath. When I asked what she was doing... her answer was: Daddy..look .. I'm shower. 

It was really fun to her to hear that...

March 4, 2015

Hi, I'm a native Japanese and mother of 2 kid's.

My English level is not good, but

When my kids were before 12months, I started to talk to them in English.

But not  all the day.

In Japan, we should start to learn English grammar after we enter the junior high school.

So, I thought I don't need to teach them English grammatically and thought [ I can do it!] at my own pace.

I sang English songs like you,  watched English DVD , read English picture books every night, and played English card games with them.

I chose some daily sentences , and decided to use them .

For example

Let's get start it!

Turn off the TV.

Wash your hands. etc....

Because I hoped that they can use beautiful Japanese at first and can speak English , too.

They started to speak in English soon, and they could get Japanese, too.

I think that there are so many things to do for them,

but it should not be strict. I tried to give them a kind of chance to learn English.

It should be just the starting point.

When they were interested in some English words, they asked me

[What do you say  japanese ////// in English?]

My kids are 12years old, and 15years old now.

They are still learning English at their own pace♪

And I could and can  do it , too!!

Please relax and have a fun with your baby!!





January 22, 2015

  That is real English at it is exactly how to do it. You can find many nursery rhymes  at websites like   and also youtube  does have many videos for them.

February 23, 2015

Thank you all, for showing your support. I really apreciate this.


She already speaks some words in English.Like: shoes(her first word), lion, tiger, frog(when I point and ask from picture books), flower beautiful, cow, caterpillar, bye bye, mommy(She only call mommy), daddy(sometimes she says daddy, but most of the time she says "papai" the Portuguese word for dad).She also knows eyes, mouth, nose , ear(when I point to her face) and house, door,window, car, wheels.I would like to learn new words and other collocations, expressions. She is more advanced in Portuguese already, and I am the only one who tries to speak in English with her.I wish I could teach her more. I would like to know what are your choices of words in several contexts like when you are about to go out, to visit grandma, to go to a park or something: I say "let's go to the park" , "let's go to to visit grandma". When your childs wants something she's not allowed or dangerous. What do you say?

February 23, 2015

Do you ever watch cartoons in English with your daughter? They will be fun for and the language is purposefully simple because they are aimed at young children. 

January 22, 2015
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Paulo Ribeiro
Language Skills
English, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Spanish