It is becoming increasingly popular for children to grow up learning a foreign language. And I love that! Knowing a foreign language is such a gift that parents can give their children, and with some dedication to supporting your child’s language learning, they can be fluent within only a matter of time. The earlier you get your child started with learning a foreign language, the more natural it will be and the quicker they will gain new language skills.
That being said, to actually learn a foreign language requires gaining exposure whenever possible.
Here are 5 ways to teach your children a foreign language while still keeping it fun for them:
1. Watch a show
I know children love to watch a fun shows, so why not put it in the language they are learning? There are plenty of children’s TV shows and films (Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street) that you can set to the language to the one your child is learning. Children’s shows are a great way to teach basic vocabulary and to make TV time still be fun, but also educational.
2. Use foreign language resources available online
There are so many resources available online that you can use to aid you in your language learning. You can play games, take a structured course, use applications with daily check-ins, etc. Let’s say you’re looking to learn the French language with your kids, you can use interactive apps like Babbel for example. I’m a big fan of Babbel – remember how I used it to learn Spanish and go on that date with a Spanish man?
3. Play and learn
Bilingual toys and games, such as “Sing & Learn French with Professor Toto” make learning fun while your child gets to do and play games like they normally would.
4. Take a class
Taking a class offers your child with a structured and organized environment for them to be surrounded by a new language. There are even “Mommy & Me” courses that you can take with kids starting at age 2, where you can have fun and learn together! Taking a class taught by a native speaker gives your child the opportunity to be immersed in a language and repeat words and phrases with a natural focus pronunciation. Plus, it is a great way for your child to meet other kids who are learning the same language!
5. Join social groups with people who speak the language
With all the games, entertainment and active learning, it is crucial that your child uses their language skills. Check your local area for speaking groups and set up play dates with other kids who speak the language your child is trying to learn. That way they can practice in a relaxed setting, have fun, and their language skills will sink in and strengthen.
Learning a second language is a way to open your imagination, become more flexible in your way of thinking, and open the door to understanding other cultures. It is a wonderful thing to do at any age, though at an early age kids get a head start and have a greater sensitivity to language and learning while they are young and absorbing things so rapidly.