10 Tips For Teaching Your Child Another Language
22nd May 2014
As parents, you can often hear that children should be learning more than one language whilst they are young. For some, the concept of introducing our child to another language before they’ve even got to grips with their native language may seem rather bizarre. However, introducing your child to another language sooner rather than later is the best decision to make. Whilst your child is young (pre-school age) they are rapidly developing their skills and can absorb large amounts of information around them.
There are many benefits to being able to speak another language early on. It can help teach your child about different cultures and the way other people live, therefore opening their minds up and encouraging curiosity.
And it doesn’t stop there! Research has revealed that those who can speak more than one language tend to be more creative as their brain functions differently, and is said to stay much sharper throughout the human ageing process. This is because learning a new language is like giving your brain a good work out. It helps improve memory and will give your child better verbal skills to carry through life.
However, despite knowing this is the best thing for your child, you may not know how best to introduce your child to a new language and develop their skills. So to help get your child get well on the way to learning a second language, Tiny World have 10 tips we’d like to share with you so you can both enjoy this new experience!
1) The environment
The environment in which your child is learning from is crucial to the speed and accuracy of their learning. The ideal place for them to learn a new language would be to surround them with native speakers of the language. Exposing them to it in such a raw way will help them pick up the natural accent and strengthen their fluency.
2) DVDs, CDs, Books etc.
For those where a natural environment is not possible, there are plenty of other effective alternatives. You could pay for lessons or one-to-one tuition for your child, but it doesn’t even have to be as expensive as that. Watching DVDs, listening to CDs and reading books all in the language they are learning can help your child absorb new words. For instance there is the popular TV programme Dora the Explorer Go, Diego, Go! that can help your child become familiar with the new language, and you’ll find that many toys and games now come with a handy bilingual setting.
3) One word at a time
The key is to take it slowly. Let your child get to grips with one word before you teach them another. If your child is still learning their own native language, then once they have mastered the word in English, teach them it in the other language straight away. This way they will be learning at the same time and progress will be quicker, but you’ll be starting with the basics and covering the groundwork first.
For young children, games can be the most effective way for them to learn and remember, plus you can make it a fun and enjoyable experience for them. Try playing I Spy in the language they are learning, or test them by pointing to an object and letting your child tell you what the word is the other language.
Showing them on a map where a country is and tell them the language they speak. For instance, show them Spain and tell them they speak Spanish there, then point our Italy and explain how they speak a different language again known as Italian. This will broaden their wider knowledge helping them get to grips with the way the world works.
Try and encourage your child to mix with children who are native speakers of the language. When they are together be supportive and encourage your child to speak to them using the words they have learnt. This will help build their confidence and they will learn from the children around them who will be speaking it correctly and fluently.
Speak of holidays you’ve been on and what it was like, what food you ate and the words or phrases you learnt. If possible, take your children away with you too so they can experience it with you and see first-hand what a different culture can be like. It may also encourage them to learn the language more.
Try writing something down and sharing it with your child and getting them to write something back to you in the language they are learning. You could pretend to be on holiday and send each other postcards, or be pen pals.
You could take your child to a restaurant that serves the cuisine they are learning the language of. For instance if they are learning Spanish, take them to a Spanish restaurant and maybe order Tapas or Paella. This will get them used to the different types of food and what each one is called. Once they have learned more words you can get them to tell you in English what certain dishes are before they read in English what they are.
10) Encourage them
The most important thing to always remember when your child is trying to learn another language is to constantly shower them with encouragement. Praise them when they have spoken in the language, even if they have made a mistake you should still tell them they have done well for trying, and your support will keep them determined and focused to continue learning.
Why not try some of our useful top ten tips and overtime you’ll hopefully see your child’s language skills and development flourish as their ability and confidence grows.
If you’re searching for a trusted and reputable nursery in the Nottingham and surrounding Basford area, then please get in touch with the friendly team here at Tiny World. As a local family run business, we have been caring for babies and children for 30 years, creating a safe and nurturing environment for your child to grow and develop.