Really, when should I teach my child Arabic?

A common question we frequently get asked is: When do I kickstart my children’s Arabic language development journey, based on the science behind early brain development?

To start, we aren’t answering that question just yet. So, if you came here looking for an answer, prepare to be disappointed, this post is all questions. Because we can’t get to the right answer if we don’t agree on the questions we’re asking!

The Arabic language development journey varies

Parenting, in reality, is itself not a science. There is no single controlled environment in which all caregivers function, even when there are science-backed studies and recommendations we should pay attention to. We all live under varying circumstances, and should keep that in mind when we choose our parenting style in a developmentally-appropriate way.

There’s so much information out there on what we should, and should not, do to give our children the best developmental journey. In that clutter of science and opinion-based content, it can get overwhelming:
Did I start too late?
Am I doing enough?
Is this even necessary?
Who even am I?

We understand there’s pressure

There’s pressure to constantly look outwards and compare journeys. Oftentimes we put that pressure on ourselves, internalizing a preconceived notion of short-comings or expectations, and end up projecting our own fears onto our children.
This approach is exhausting. I’m exhausted typing it out!

With so many variables, an imported one-size-fits-all approach to early language development just doesn’t seem to make sense to us, especially because each of our language, culture and identity circumstances are unique:
Time: Do I have enough of it?
Culture: Is this advice relevant to my values?
Support: Even if I had all the answers, do I have enough support to put them into practice?
Financial freedom: Is this a necessity or a luxury for my family?
Country: Does where I live make it easier or harder for me?
Kids: How do I cater to each of my kids’ unique personalities, needs, and forms of expression?
The list is endless, and it's not all-or-nothing.

That is why we like to bring it back to the basics: The science of early childhood development.

Sit back and enjoy this upcoming series of short reads about not too much, but also something pretty awesome around the science of early childhood development, how it relates to language, and specifically (of course), Arabic.
Also if you missed out on our earlier (introspective) blog: A Parent Perspective: Why Write in English and not in Arabic? You can catch up here.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.

- Nabih


1 comment

It’s great to see a discussion that acknowledges how tricky parenting and early childhood development can be. I totally agree that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, especially with language development. Every family is different, so considering our own situations is key when deciding how to guide our kids’ language journey. Can’t wait to read more from your series on early childhood development and Arabic language learning. You guys are doing awesome!


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