Just had a baby? How to talk to your newborn in Hindi/Urdu
As many of you may know, I just had a baby a few months ago! Here is a pic of us!
Having a newborn has given me a whole new perspective on teaching Hindi early, and I want to share what I have learnt.
Should I start speaking in the new language this early?
Experts believe that starting to teach your child a new language early is the key to them picking it up fluently. The earlier the better. Here is a clip from an interview I did with Speech Language Pathologist, Shuchi Mehta from @CooBabbleBol. Shuchi emphasizes that "it is never too early to expose your children to as many languages as you want," and they will not be confused by the mixing of the languages. "The infant brain is so amazing," Shuchi notes, "that picking up differences in languages is no big deal for them."
It is awkward speaking to my child in my second language. How can I start?
Speaking to your newborn in Hindi/Urdu can feel forced and completely awkward at first. If you live in an English speaking house, you’re going to feel like everything you say needs to be translated in English. Avoid that instinct. Your child doesn’t know any language yet, so use this time to really get in as much Hindi-Urdu time as you can! Here are some things you can to do:
1. Talk about your day
Recount what you did earlier, what you’re doing right now and plans for later.
2. Point-out the things around you
"Dekho! Laal gaaRi, ek chota kutta!" When on walks, bath-time, changing diapers, on the play mat describe everything you see. Try to use as many colors, numbers and names of objects as you can!
3. Read a story in Hindi (translate classic books)
South Asians might not have enough of a selection of Hindi/Urdu story books, but translating baby books is easy and fun to do. In our house, we have translated Good Night Moon, Brown Bear and more!
4. Tell them about their relatives/friends
Where do Dadi/dada live? Who are their cousins and where do they live? How old are they?
5. Sing a song!
Have a Hindi/Urdu songs stuck in your head? Sing it! I’ve noticed so many sweet Bollywood songs can apply to babies as well. "Tujhe Dekha toh yeh jaana sanam" comes to mind, and the lyrics apply pretty well!
6. Count their fingers and toes!
Teach them 1-10 or even 11-20 as they get older using their fingers and toes. Start out with just the numbers, then start adding prompts as your baby gets older -- e.g. Tere paas kitne oongliyaan hain? (how many fingers do you have?).
You can also talk about their face -- naak, kaan, mooh, baal, gal etc!