We teach our children good manners. We try to put them on the right path, since we all want to see them growing up into strong, intelligent persons. Are we forgetting something along the way? As parents, we have a responsibility to expose our children to the versatility of the world. Our planet is so beautiful that we can’t afford to keep them within the limits of our apartment, neighborhood, city and state. We want them to know and understand other cultures. With each foreign language they learn throughout their lives, they become more open-minded persons.
We can’t expect young kids to have a focused goal to learn a foreign language. The parent needs to awaken that interest and keep it alive with a good plan for development. You can sign them up for a course, but you’ll still be responsible for engaging them in the learning process.
We have few tips for parents who want to make their children interested in learning foreign languages.
Start as Early as Possible
Did you know there was a critical age for learning a language? Children have mysterious ways of learning languages with remarkable speed. Scientists showed that the baby’s brain detects the statistical and prosodic patterns in speech. By listening to the people around them, 6-month-old babies learn about the world that surrounds them. That’s why they are so focused on the words.
There’s a catch: children have this genius capacity until they turn seven. From there on, there is a systematic decline in their capacity to learn a language.
If you don’t want to confuse your baby with two languages, you don’t have to do that during the critical period in language development, which occurs between 6 and 12 months. After that, you can consider exposing them to a foreign language as early as possible.
You want to be the examples for your kids to follow. We talked to Martin Roberts, a writer from BestEssays
. “Parents from all around the world want their children to learn a foreign language as well as possible. However, they just wait for teachers to do their job – teach. They don’t make an effort to learn together with their kids from an early age,” – he said. Sooner or later, these parents come to because the kids need help with essays and homework assignments in that foreign language.”
It doesn’t matter whether you know the foreign language or you take your kid to a language course; you should always repeat with them. If you know the language, it will be easy for you to guide them through the learning process and correct their mistakes. If you don’t, you’ll be learning together. Be prepared to have your ego hurt; your child will probably be the better learner.
Kids tend to assign great importance to the activities they share with their parents. Keep that in mind.
You can easily order books on any language through Amazon or another online store. Children’s books are great because they introduce new words through stories. Your kids will identify themselves with the characters, so it won’t be difficult for you to get them engaged.
You don’t want your kid to be studying a language from a dictionary and a grammar book. Children’s books are a much better approach, since they tie the words not only with pictures, but with stories, too. You can translate the words together and continue reading one book after another.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to teach your kid French, Spanish, Hungarian, or Chinese - YouTube is full of cartoons on any language. Cartoons are great because the characters use simple words and grammar that children can understand. Plus, your kid won’t get the impression that you’re forcing them to learn something when they watch a cartoon. They will enjoy the experience.
Turn the Language Learning Process into a Routine
Don’t wait for your child to show interest in learning a language. They might want to learn few words today, but they will forget all about the learning over the weeks to come. Children don’t have a great attention span, so you’ll keep reminding them how fun and important the foreign language is.
Read few pages of a book, watch a short cartoon on the foreign language, or learn few words every single day. You need to create a habit out of this experience. With new lessons and repetition on a daily basis, your kids won’t forget the information you expose them to.
Learning foreign languages and understanding other cultures are inseparable. The good news is that language learning is fun, so both you and your kid will enjoy it.