As a parent, you have the opportunity to introduce a foreign language into your child’s routine, which can produce long-term cognitive and social benefits. Immersing your child in a foreign language at a young age is extremely advantageous, especially compared to studying at other more mature points in life.
Children soak up anything and everything that goes on around them, registering an extensive range of sounds, sights and smells. Their observant nature helps them to easily gain ground in learning a foreign language — until the age of seven or so. Exposing your child to foreign language training at a young age will help them identify subtle and important differences in the sounds they hear and make. Sounds that a non-native speaker would normally struggle to identify and correct.
Once you decide you want to introduce a foreign language into your child’s life, there are a variety of different strategies and techniques that are worth exploring. Whether you live in a bilingual home, multilingual home, or a monolingual home, you can employ the following learning techniques.
Have your child spend time with a native speaker. Children who are exposed to a native speaker learn through important social interactions and cues, rather than forced exercises. Culturally immersing your child in this type of environment will help them acquire experience and make significant language gains.
Teach through consistent repetition. Children learn through being actively engaged and consistently practicing. As a parent, make an effort to do activities like crafts or cooking in a different language each time. Switch-back and forth from their first and second language.
Create a positive learning environment. As a parent, give your child all the love and support you can offer. Actively participate in the learning process so that during difficult times, you can offer support.
Teach through engaging activities. The key to successfully teaching a foreign language revolves around experiences that are both cognitively demanding and content-rich. Flipping flashcards is simple and not demanding enough. Effortless repetition will not increase language proficiency.
Use foreign-language media. In the absence of in-person interaction, expose your child to foreign music, film, and literature. This worthwhile language acquisition technique will allow your child to gain important exposure to conversational language.
Your child will likely encounter difficulties along the way. Learning a language, even at the best age, is difficult. Do your best to motivate and encourage your child, reminding them of the long-lasting benefits and value. For more information or to enroll your child in second language lessons, contact Heritage Learning Center.