Do you have a child who is just beginning to learn a new language, or is struggling a bit in language class? Do you want to help, but feel unsure how to do this?
Busy parents can’t do everything but choosing just one or two of the suggestions below might just give your child that spark to boost interest and learning!
- Meet the teacher and show them that as a parent you are supportive and happy that your child is studying a language. Find out what they are expecting your child to learn- Will they be working on reading and writing along with conversation? Ask for suggestions about how you can support your child in the language learning process. What would the teacher like to see parents doing at home to help their child?
- Visit your local library and look for children’s story books in your child’s new language. Bring them home and “read” them together with your child. The pictures and illustrations will give you an idea of the gist of the meaning and your child will probably be happy to correct your pronunciation!
- Check out Youtube for videos for children to make language learning fun.
- Do you like to sing? Find some songs in the target language and learn them with your child.
- Arrange a fun project with your child where together you label objects in your house with the new language. Bonus tip: Use one colour for each gender, if this applies to the language being studied.
- Children’s programs on TV can sometimes be useful for the same reason that storybooks are useful- the repetition and visuals provide clues to the meaning and are fun to watch even if you don’t understand more than the general topic.
- Find a food that is part of the culture of the new language and prepare it for/with your child. If your child is older, take them out to lunch in a restaurant where you can try out new some dishes and read a menu in the language being studied.
- Try the (free) Duolingo app yourself and practice it on your own (5-10 min/day) so that you have an idea of the new language that your child is learning.
- Connect your child with another child that speaks the new language (online or in person). Depending on your child’s age, this could be a play date or a pen pal.
- And finally, realize that your own positive attitude and interest will go a long way to helping your child realize that learning a language can be a fun and rewarding educational opportunity.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Feel free to comment in the space below.