There are many valuable gifts that a parent can give their child, and as a parent, you want to make sure that, when your child leaves your care, they are as prepared for life as possible. That used to mean teaching them some valuable skills or perhaps sending them to a good school. However, in this ever-smaller world where international communication happens on every level, one of the best gifts you could give is the ability to speak multiple languages. As we look towards the future, knowledge of multiple languages will be even more in demand and here is how you can help your child learn another one.
A bilingual environment
We learn our native language at home, by listening to the people around us and imitating what they do. So if only one language is spoken around the home, it’s most likely that the child will be speaking only one language. However, you can create a bilingual environment, even if the parents speak the same native language. Have several days per week where you would only speak one language in the house or dedicate a primary language to every parent to use. This exposure from an early age is the most effective way to get your child to learn an additional language. However, if the parents speak only one language, there’s still something that can be done. read about Martin Polanco
Expose them to foreign media
Some kids’ cartoons have no dialogue at all, while others are filled with chit-chat. Try to seek out age-appropriate media in a foreign language and play it for your child instead of media in their native language. Often times, local TV networks will dub all children’s media into the local language, so it’s up to you to scour the internet in search of media in a foreign language. You shouldn’t be concerned that the child will miss out on something – most children’s cartoons and books explain everything through visual information, with only a small portion of the narrative being delivered through text. This will also encourage your child to seek out foreign media themselves when they get older.
Get them into learning groups
It can be very hard on a child to feel like they are the only ones in a group that are doing something different, and that might make them reluctant to commit to learning a language. But if they are placed in learning groups where all children are learning a foreign language together, like your local Monkey Tree English learning center, they will be encouraged to learn together with their friends and feel inspired to improve, especially if the other kids don’t have the same native language as they do.
Travel the world
For a child that spends their whole life in their hometown where everyone speaks the same language, it can be really hard to understand why they would need to learn a second language at all. But if you take them traveling around the world where you have to speak different languages to communicate and if they have to learn a new way to say “ice cream” every time they want a scoop in a foreign place – they will learn the value of language very fast. If going to a different country is too far and out of your budget, you can seek out cultural districts in the area, where you can get a similar experience of other people speaking a different language around you.
It’s a very rare sight to have a parent and child learn something together for the first time – but it can be incredibly powerful. Firstly, you will motivate each other to learn, and additionally, you will be spending time together, bonding. It can feel like a lot of pressure on a child to learn something that their parents are already good at – especially if the parents are the ones putting the expectation on the child – but learning together will bring a completely different effect. And if you are the parent in this situation, it is so important that you give up the fear of not being “perfect” in front of your child because when they see the vulnerability and struggle you are going through (because learning languages is definitely not a piece of cake!), they will be more at peace with themselves going through the same.
So whether you’re hoping your child will learn a second language so they can have an advantage in life or because you’re planning on moving somewhere abroad, it’s a valuable skill and you can rest assured that your child will thank you for it once they are older.