You know the value of language learning and you want to give your child access to this knowledge at a young age. The only problem is, you don’t speak any other languages fluently!! You did French at high school and learned some Spanish for a trip…. but… you can’t remember much apart from bonjour and merci!
Does this sound familiar?
I know you really want your kids to have a head start and want them to love learning languages and about the world around them. So here are my 5 tips to teach your child a language and what you can do from today!
Here are my 5 top tips to teach your child a foreign language – even when you don’t know it yourself!
1. Make the new language a fun and every day part of your life
You can do this even without speaking the language – by learning (together with your children) some key greetings and words and practising these together. Words and phrases that are great to start with are:
- Thank you
- See you tomorrow
- I’d like….
Really the list can be as short or as long as you like, and as your confidence increases and your kids begin to retain some of the new words, you can start adding more phrases! The trick is to use these words everyday! And get your kids in the habit too!
2. Download an app that helps you learn and pronounce the words
This is super helpful for complete beginners right through to advanced speakers of the language. It’s important to find an app that has an audio option – preferably using a human voice (not a computer voice!) to help you get the hang of the pronunciation and intonation. It’s also perfect for using together with your kids when you want to look up a new word or check the pronunciation. There are heaps of great dictionary apps out there for many, many languages.
Check out my resources section for tips on what apps and dictionaries might be suitable for your level and language.
3. Find a fun, easy to use resource that works for you and your family
I recently created a toolkit for parents (and other important adults in your child’s life!) packed with 35+ creative ideas and activities to get your kids loving languages! You can check it out here.
I purposely wanted to create something useful and effective AND that works for busy families. That’s why the activities in the toolkit are super easy to set up and quick to do. The majority take less than 5 minutes and many 1 minute or even 30 seconds! So we can all find 30 seconds – 1 minutes in our busy days.
The toolkit is suitable for families with kids of all ages – from babies, to teenagers. And you can use the toolkit for learning ANY language. Plus the activities are possible to do even if you don’t know the language!! YEY!
Many families wanting to re-connect with their heritage language are finding the activities in the toolkit perfect. Also, parents whose kids are learning a language at school that they’ve never learned, are finding many ways to support their child’s learning and helping them excel in the school language studies. You can buy it here.
4. Tap into a passion, hobby or interest your child has
We can turn pretty much anything into a language learning opportunity! Playing, reading, singing, writing, watching TV and listening to music all come to mind when we think of great ways to help our kids get foreign language exposure. But have you ever thought a bit more out of the box?
What are your kids into? Dancing? Cooking? Geography? Animals? Skating? Minecraft?
We can find ways to incorporate languages into these passions! If your kids are into cooking or dancing, perhaps you can find a class or demonstration on YouTube in the language they are learning? Kids into minecraft, might be able to play with other kids in their target language (obviously this needs to be set up and supervised to some extent depending on what age your child is!)
5. Learn the language alongside them!
What’s more fun and motivating for your children, than to see you learning with them at the same time! Plus it makes us fantastic role models, demonstrating that learning doesn’t ever stop, and that even though languages are tricky – we can all give it a go, and mistakes don’t matter.
There are so many life lessons in language learning!
Let me know how you are going, and what you are finding works for you and your family!
Until next time,
Penny ~ Lingo Mama