Knowledge of multiple languages is beneficial to all of us, and so many parents want to teach their children a second language right after their birth. Actually, it’s a very good idea: this allows your children to learn faster, to remember the second language in easier and more pleasant way, and, what’s even more important, it makes their mind more flexible. Bilingual children are more creative than the others, they are better at critical thinking and, of course, they already know a second language when most of the other kids only start learning it.
We want to offer you some tips that can make the whole language learning process more pleasant and easy for both you and your child.
1. Start as soon as possible.
It is known that children learn better at small age: they are more curious and more willing to sit and learn. Various researches show that it’s good to start teaching children a second language in the first months of their life (between 6 and 12 months). At this very small age children start distinguishing sounds, remembering phonemes and so on.
However, if you miss this period, this still won’t mean that you miss the whole opportunity. While smaller ones do remember the basic phonetics the best, older children can learn well too. The best period to learn a foreign language is up to 7 years old. So seize this opportunity if you can.
2. Go slow.
While you might think that you have to teach your child as quick as possible, this can do more harm than good. Children get tired and bored faster than adults, and intensive learning can easily make them lose their interest. Do not rush: your goal is to get your child interested in learning a foreign language, not to get them remember as many words as possible.
Of course, it is hard for a parent to understand what pace to choose if they aren’t experienced in this. The only thing you can do in this case is to pay attention: if you notice that your child gets bored after an hour of learning, this means this is too much for them and they need to study less.
3. Start with basic things.
It’s good to start with something simple and familiar to your child: after mastering an alphabet, you can start learning about family members, animals, food and so on. It’ll be easier for a child to learn new words if these words actually mean something to them.
Showing things instead of simply learning them is good too. For example, you can take your child to the zoo if you want to teach them the names of animals, and so on.
4. Read aloud.
Though this tip may seem simple, it is actually very useful: when you read aloud, your child remembers new words better, learn how to pronounce these words, and their interest in books increases too. You can start by reading stories and fairytales your child already knows (this way it’ll be easier for them to listen) and then move to new books.
5. Play foreign music.
When we visit a foreign country and hear an unfamiliar language everywhere, we soon begin to understand it even a little. Of course, a trip abroad isn’t something a family can do anytime, but it is still possible to surround your child with foreign language by playing foreign music in your house.
You can pick both songs for kids and famous hits as well: if they sound nice, your child can dance to them – this way they’ll have even more fun!
6. Watch videos in foreign language.
Another way to surround a child with a foreign language is to show them videos, their favorite cartoons and TV shows in this language. However, it’s better to watch these videos with a child to be able to explain unknown words to them. It is also important to watch such videos first on your own and check whether a child really can understand most of them or not.
7. Make funny word cards.
Showing word cards to a child is a fun way to learn. Yes, these cards can be easily found in different stores, but it’s always better to make your own with images that your child likes: for example, with their favorite cartoon characters, and so on. This way learning will become even more interesting!
8. Play games.
Games are one of the best ways to improve and quicken the whole learning process. They also allow making this process more diverse: for example, if you notice that your child gets bored learning new words, switch to a certain board game or a quiz. You can also play storytelling games: start telling your child a story in foreign language and let them fill in the gaps or continue this story.
9. Practice oral conversation.
Though speaking is an obligatory part of language learning process, you can make it one of the most pleasant parts too. For example, organize a tea party with your child and speak in a foreign language during it. Or pretend that you are foreign celebrities, who need to go to the store: put on your sunglasses and speak in a foreign language all the time you are outside your house. Your child will love it!
10. Praise and pay attention.
If you really want your child to get interested in language learning process, you’ll have to work hard with them too. Good learning materials and games make the whole process easier, but your attention and affection are even more important here. If you praise your child for his small and big victories, if you really work with them the whole time, this will make wonders. Children are willing to do so many things to make their parents proud, so they’ll study willingly and hard under such circumstances.
Be a good example and a loving parent, and everything will work just fine even if you aren’t an experienced teacher. We wish you good luck with that!
Richard Nolan is a blogger and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of blogging self-growth, and psychology. Nowadays writing for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers, students, and teachers. Also, Richard works as a half-time writer and blog editor for ProWritersCenter
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