From an Au Pair mom.
Will the fact that English is an Au Pair’s second language, make my kids speak with an accent?
Parents of babies may wonder if hiring an au pair whose first language is not English will cause their babies to speak English with an accent.
Those fears are unfounded, and moreover, exposure to a second language with a different phonetic composition is an advantage for babies.
Babies and very young children are in an age window where they can learn to perfectly pronounce sounds that are absent from English. Even if they don’t maintain this ability with constant practice, as adults it will be easier for them to learn and speak a foreign language without an accent or with minimal accent.
There were also studies showing that bilingualism give children a cognitive advantage; or simply speaking, makes kids smarter.
Even if a baby or a young child picks up an accent in English from an au pair, this is a transient effect. The child speaks English with his or her parents, and once the child goes to school, he or she will be immersed in an English speaking environment, and if the accent survives until then, it will quickly disappear.
It is well known that immigrants to America can naturally shed their accents if they arrived before they are 12-14 years of age, even if they speak their native language at home. Consequently, there is no fear that an american child will maintain a foreign accent, living in America his or her whole life.