Your curious little rascals are like sponges – they’ll absorb anything and everything that comes their way, whether it’s a fun dinosaur fact, the store where they saw their new favorite toy, or that fun story their grandparents told them once. They’ll mimic the dance moves of the greatest Hollywood stars and they’ll paint like there’s no tomorrow. In this learning frenzy, kids can be responsive to all kinds of learning methods, whether they are picking up information and skills spontaneously or they’re placed in a learning environment.
One of the greatest life skills you can give them is the power to wield more than a single language. It grants them a doorway into a new culture, another people’s history, and a whole new way to express themselves creatively. Not to mention connecting with their peers from all over the globe! So, to help your little ones get chatty in a new language, here are a few methods to keep in mind.
Learning through music
Parents can be great language teachers through everyday conversations, especially in non-native English families where the parents had to master the language over time, and they now have the responsibility to pass on the same passion for learning to their youngsters. However, especially in such situations, your kids need some extra materials to fully understand the language. The world is brimming with songs in English for kids of all ages, and not to mention radio stations across the globe playing all kinds of music that your kids will love. For starters, play the radio with music and songs in this new language in the background, to help your kids get used to it faster.
Then, you can organize sing-alongs in their free time or simply encourage them to listen to more of their favorite tunes in English, learn the lyrics, and you can analyze them together. Just make sure you’ve selected appropriate artists and that their lyrics will be truly useful for your little ones. In case your little ones wish to learn another language, for instance Spanish, the internet is brimming with free resources such as songs in Spanish to help kids learn the vocabulary with ease.
Find an immersive course
Surrounding your little ones with colorful learning props, eager and playful peers, and well-trained teachers means that you’ll provide them with the perfect learning environment to master a new language. Look into your options so that they can even start prepping for a Trinity GESE test when the time comes, and with the right teachers and modules, they’ll treat it like a fun conversation rather than an exam.
These tests are great pointers to give you some idea of the progress your child is making, and what kind of classes are suitable for them as they grow older. Plus, getting praise from teachers and native speakers will certainly make them feel appreciated and encourage them to learn even more over time.
Books and cartoons can help
Attention is a fleeting thing for three-year-olds, and as parents, we need to come up with solutions that will overcome this simple hurdle. One of the simplest, purest ways to get your kids interested in a new language and help them learn new words and notions is with the help of bedtime stories. Find books with stories you know they’ll love, especially the ones with colorful images attached to the stories, so that you can show them each character and even talk about the book in the new language. For kids whose English is perfect, they can perhaps enjoy their favorite books in French and other popular languages, so it will be easier for them to follow the story while they learn.
Alternatively, why not turn TV or tablet time into a learning session with the help of cartoons that are in this new language they’re learning? It’s a perfect way to gamify learning without extending their screen-time in the process.
Talk to them in the new language
If your child is learning English, and you can speak it well yourself even though you’re not a native English speaker, this is a brilliant bonding opportunity for you and your youngster that will also serve as a fun learning session, too. After all, they feel the most comfortable with you, so they’ll be happy to try using new words, experiment with phrases, and possibly interact more freely.
You can play your usual games such as hide and seek or roleplays to let them take on an entirely different role while they’re practicing to speak in that new language. As for writing, scrabble and the hangman are always great options!
Learning apps can be fun
Did you know that Duolingo isn’t just for you and your own friends, but your kids can use it, too? In fact, such an intuitive tool can be a life-saver for busy parents of kids who wish to tackle a little more language material at home.
Of course, there are other apps you can use for this very same purpose, it all depends on what you want and what your kids prefer, so try a few out before settling. Naturally, you’ll want to keep their phone-time limited every day, so that they can actually practice the new language with their peers and with you instead of only relying on the app.
As a parent, you get to fill so many different roles, and one of them allows you to empower your kids to ask questions, step right outside of their comfort zone, and embrace new skills. Learning a new language is just that: a life skill that can help them connect with others, travel the world more comfortably, and develop into a wholesome, curious person. Use these tips to drive their motivation and turn learning into a fun, exciting process they’ll love!
Fiona is a lifestyle blogger based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s in love with good coffee, croissants, and fashion magazines. In her spare time, she plays tennis and travels around the world. You can read more from her on her blog High Style Life.