How to Get Your Kids Started with a New Language
How to Get Your Kids Started with a New Language
Being able to speak the language of the locals makes family travel even more fun! Here’s how to get your Little Hotdogs started with a new language:
Get them started young
Research has shown that children develop their main learning pathways during their preschool years, meaning it is easier for their brains to forge new ways of thinking – ideal for taking on foreign sounds and pronunciation. Learning a new language is easiest when started around 3-4 years old. At this age, learning can be achieved through play where children are not analysing their performance and worrying about saying everything perfectly!
There’s a fascinating article on the best age for kids to get started with a new language here, if you want to read more about the science behind it.
Immerse them in different languages
Immersion is the approach of fully immersing your child in a setting where the teachers are only speaking their native foreign languages. No translations! It relies on a child’s natural curiosity and ability to piece together language through all their senses and their understanding of the context. For example, they might learn vocab while crafting or cooking, simply piecing together what they see and what they hear.
Immersion allows children to not only learn foreign words but to learn how to ‘communicate’ in a foreign language. Understanding foreign words in their right context and soaking up the accent and all its nuances. The immersion technique helps our kids to get the same training as those children who are being raised in homes where two or more languages are spoken. It happens naturally! Never heard about the immersion technique? Read more about it here.
Travelling as a family is a natural form of immersion. The more languages are kids are exposed to in their natural environment, the better.
As parents, we’re super lucky to be living in the digital age where our kids have access to language learning opportunities 24/7. Whether you watch kids cartoons in another language (a nice way for at home immersion) or make the most of language-leaning apps, screen time has its benefits here!
Here are some digital resources you might like:
An immersive play experience where kids can learn new words, earning coins and rewards, and progress through the levels to help Jojo in his quest to surprise his friend Lulu with a party for her birthday.
Little Pim have apps, DVDs, books, CDs all designed to help kids master a new language. Designed for ages 0-6, they help kids develop their skills in 12 different languages.
Duolingo are hugely popular for both children and grown-ups looking to learn a new language. Great for older Hotdogs. Their database includes: Spanish, German, English, Italian and more. The game element of Duolingo comes in earning points and losing lives if you get something wrong! Duolingo is completely free to use.
Created by parents, ‘Gus on the Go’ has 14 different languages available. Including Spanish, French, and Hebrew. With interactive lessons, vocabulary reviews and games.
Try a subscription box
There are some brilliant subscription boxes on offer to encourage language learning, and what child doesn’t love receiving a parcel in the post! Mama blogger Susie Verril recently shared a preview into ‘One Third Stories’ boxes which include stories that start in English and finish in either Spanish or French – with loads of fun and games inside too. They look very cool!
Find out more here and use Susie’s discount code: SUSIE
Have fun with friends
The more fun our kids have with learning another language, the more eager they’ll be to keep at it. Have a look at the local kid’s clubs where you live for the chance for your child to learn alongside peers. The focus of these sorts of groups is typically play, singing, stories and craft – engaging age appropriate activities that will keep your Hotdog interested and teach them a foreign language as a bonus.
Learn a word a day
Want to keep it simple when it comes to teach your child another language? A fun technique is to simply have a ‘word of the day’. Decide on your target word, write it down, draw a picture, find a prop – then try pronouncing it together. Challenge your Hotdogs to remember and repeat their word at random points in the day too. A lovely technique for getting little ones engaged with the idea of learning a new language before you get stuck in with apps and language clubs.
Which language are you most excited about teaching your kids? Let us know in the comments!
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