Learning a foreign language is an incredibly beneficial skill, both for personal and professional development. Raising your child bilingual or introducing a second language to your child at a young age is something that they will absolutely thank you for later in life. While there is a traditional learning style of in-class education for language learning, it is incredibly important to give extra support outside the classroom to children who are learning a foreign language.
Here are ways you can support your child’s language learning at home:
• Language apps
Apps are used for so many parts of daily life nowadays, and language learning is no different. Language apps are convenient educational tools that you can use with a smart device. Babbel, for example, is a great language app for students. It provides you with learning paths that you can complete when you have the time, no matter where you are! This makes it easy for your child to complete a language lesson when, for example, you are sitting in a waiting room and have 20 minutes to wait.
• Use free audio resources like YouTube
YouTube has a plethora of free online videos that your child can watch to boost his or her language skills. You can find dedicated videos from language teachers, as well as videos created by native speakers that you can sift through to find topics of your child’s liking (or have them do so with you if they are old enough!).
• Buy picture books in the target language
Your child’s reading and comprehension level will of course be different in the language they are learning, and reading is a wonderful way to boost language skills! So pick up some picture books and early learning books in the target language so your child can get the reading experience at their specific language level. Head to the bookstore together or pick specific books on a topic that you already know your child loves so that he or she is more engaged and wanting to read.
• Find cultural events that have a connection to the language
Especially if you are encouraging your child to learn a second language in order to connect to his or her own language, cultural events are a must! When attending a cultural event that has a connection to the language your child is learning, they can hear the language and also how it is expressed and spoken amongst native speakers. Some cultural events may even include language learning groups where your child can connect with other language students.
• Learn together
If you learn the language alongside your child, or at least go through the lessons together, your child will benefit from the group experience and support. It can also be fun and a bonding experience to learn something together!
• Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when learning something new. Make language learning fun and a positive experience fun for your child, and they will feel more comfortable and confident engaging with it. It is also a wonderful opportunity for you to strengthen your bond with your child and show your support.
• Always celebrate success
Learning a language is challenging, and it is so important to celebrate successes! Even if it is seemingly a small success, such as learning a few new vocabulary words, the support will keep your child going in his or her language learning process. Rather than focusing on.
If you have the opportunity, another great thing to do is ask your child’s teacher for extra resources and suggestions. They may have specific recommendations for your child, and chances are they already have a plethora of resources or ideas at their fingertips.
Disclosure: Written in collaboration with Emily Jones.