In addition to using foreign language gear, hire a babysitter who speaks another tongue, secure bilingual daycare or arrange playdates with bilingual families. Benton's ex-husband worked in Spanish-speaking communities, so he asked clients for sitter recommendations. For other parents, finding bilingual childcare may require agency help. Ghurani's daughter attends a Montessori school that teaches basic Spanish. “Finding appropriate immersion programs depends on where you live,” says Liane Comeau Ph.D., a child and language development expert in Montreal. In California, some English-speaking kids attend Spanish-English bilingual schools and leave fifth grade fluent in Spanish.
What you can expect: Results range from recognizing the language when it's spoken to being able to converse casually. The more time the child spends with the nanny or in bilingual daycare, the greater the proficiency. “It all depends on the amount and quality of the child's exposure,” says Dr. Steiner.
Go all the way by speaking only that language at home. For many families, in-home immersion translates to one parent speaking in the second language and the other parent speaking English. The back-and-forth banter doesn't trip up tots, says Comeau, who's raising her 16-month-old son to be bilingual. Da's son, Simon, for example, asks his mom for watermelon in French but addresses his dad in English. For extra support, reach out to relatives. Ghurani asks extended family to speak only in Arabic to Delila.
What you can expect: A bilingual tot, in time. Don't worry if he doesn't speak either language as adeptly as his monolingual peers at first. If your child is exposed to both languages the same amount, he will be able to speak both equally well by the time he goes to school.