Teaching your kids foreign languages early on helps set the stage for their future success. It may seem daunting at first, but going one step at a time will help both you and your kids have fun while learning.
1. Speak in Your Language All the Time!
It’s extremely important that the first language your child learns is your native language. This will help your child recognize the difference once you start introducing them to a new language. You can start with basic words like how to say Mom, Dad, thank you, and please in your native tongue. Talk with your kids every day using clear words. To engage them better, you can do activities they're into and have them repeat the words.
2. Define Your Reasons And Goals
To make sure you teach and reinforce learning languages, make sure you identify the reasoning behind it. Why do you desire your child to learn a new language? child to learn a new language? Another thing to take note of is that consciously teaching your child requires dedication and time. How will you make time for activities that focus on your child’s learning? Knowing these things early on will help you and your child be consistent and successful.
3. Don’t Just Learn the Language! Embrace the Culture
Teaching your children a language isn’t enough, you have to also introduce the culture behind it. Learning should be multi-dimensional, and once they learn to appreciate the culture, the easier it will be for them to grasp the concept of learning that particular culture’s language. Your child will be more engaged in learning all aspects of a certain culture if you spend time introducing them to the food, the festivals, and the traditions of the culture they are being exposed to.
4. Read, Read, Read
Reading to your children at a very early age will get them used to hearing words, and will help them process the meaning of those words easier. There are many books that offer as guides and activity books to make learning fun for little kids. If you can’t get your hands on a physical copy of a book, online learning is also an option. You can utilize streaming sites like YouTube or even download E-Books for free.
5. Play in Other Language
Setting up a conducive learning environment for your child is very important, but they may become bored with the traditional methods of learning. To pique your child’s interest and to engage them fully, incorporate learning words into their playtime. You can introduce their favorite toys in the language you are teaching them and make them repeat the words. If you're playing hide and seek, try counting in a different language and see if they understand.
6. Embrace Their Interests
Children respond better to things they’re actually interested in, so to keep their attention to learning, figure out what activities they engage with the most. If they like music, make them listen to music in the language you're teaching them, you can even dance with them to make them realize that the music is fun and see them follow what you do. If they like looking at animals, translate the names of those animals and their eyes will light up with excitement.
7. Use Local Mom Groups to Your Advantage
If you're running out of ideas to keep your child interested in learning, ask local moms who are doing the same thing. Look for local groups or community pages, you'll be surprised at how helpful they are. You can have your child join organized play dates or other events specially dedicated to children learning different languages. Your child will pick up new words in no time if they hear it from someone the same age as them.
8. Prioritize Writing and Listening as Well as Speaking
Practicing all aspects of the language, such as speaking, listening, and writing, will help your child with their work and reinforce their learning. They will be able to absorb more information and comprehend better when they can incorporate the words they are learning into other activities at the same time. By having lots of activities, your kids will have a better understanding of the words they're learning and be able to naturally use the words they learn in everyday life.
9. Remind Yourself of the Benefits
Having your kids grow up learning a new language is fun, but it can also have its downside. If you expose your kids to the outside world, they’re like a sponge absorbing all the new information. Remember that learning is a continuous process, and as a consequence, be patient and don’t give up! Remember that the benefits outweigh the challenges. They’ll have better career opportunities once they grow up, and their self-esteem will certainly be higher.
10. Continue Educating Yourself About Bilingual Language Development
You can't teach something you don't understand. Learn the language you teach as well. Look for other sources to increase your knowledge and vocabulary. Take a look at articles and the history of the words, that's always interesting. The lessons you learn will be highly valuable to guiding your children to learn better and understand better. Not to mention they will be totally impressed at how deep your knowledge is, and see you as a credible teacher.
Teaching your child to be bilingual is one of the most important gifts you can ever give them. You’re ensuring that they’ll have a better sense of self-worth while learning to be respectful and appreciative of other cultures. In teaching your children, one important thing you should remember is they will need your patience, consistency, and full support so they can be successful.