We live in the day and age of rapid progress, a time when the need for constant connectedness and communication is at an all-time high. We also live in a time when speaking more than one language is considered a valuable asset in the business world, and being bilingual brings a number of benefits. Needless to say, being able to speak several languages can give children educational advantage as well as a wide range of employment benefits. All that has many parents wondering how they can help their children reap the benefits that come with bilingualism and ensure a bright future for their little one. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know in order to support your child’s language learning and give them the best start in life.
Teach them the basics of the language to get them started
Being a bilingual parent is a plus when it comes to teaching your child a foreign language at home. However, if you don’t speak the language you’re teaching, there is no need to worry. You can still introduce them to the basics of that foreign language and teach them colors, numbers, and the alphabet. Practice using the language together – sing songs, teach them how to count, and introduce them to various shapes. Just by being exposed to the foreign language will help them get accustomed to the sound of it, which will serve as a great building block for foreign language acquisition.
Incorporate meaningful screen time into their daily routine
Once the child has acquired some basic language skills, you can easily incorporate the language through different media. Watching TV programs in a foreign language is a great way for language learners to practice their listening skills. Another source of entertainment that can be utilized for passive learning is watching movies or listening to music. Choose a movie or a cartoon they like and watch it together and try to describe what is happening using your mother tongue. Make sure to emphasize the character’s use of language and repeat the sentences together. That way, you get to incorporate learning into their screen time and make it more meaningful.
Enroll them in facilities that will support their second language acquisition
While teaching your kids at home is a good place to start, at some point, you will need to seek support from the outside. This is especially important for parents who don’t speak the second language they’re teaching because teachers at foreign language classes can utilize the child’s preexisting knowledge and transfer it to a different context, using it as a tool to engage the children in various activities that will support their language acquisition. Facilities such as Monkey Tree English learning center for kids will help identify the child’s prior knowledge of English and ensure your child is enrolled in a course that suits both their age and level of knowledge.
Read bilingual books and regularly introduce new vocabulary items
Reading bilingual books to your child has a wide range of benefits when it comes to language learning. It helps enhance their listening, spelling, and writing skills, but it’s also beneficial for their grammar and vocabulary skills. Browse for bilingual books online and be sure to start by reading the version in their mother tongue. Move on to the foreign language version and make sure they understand every expression that was used in the story. It would also be a good idea to introduce new vocabulary items each week. Use flashcards to teach new vocabulary – start with five flashcards in the first week, and then continue to add new five flashcards every week.
Raising a bilingual child comes with a set of challenges, but it is very beneficial for them in the long run. Start as early as possible to help your child acquire the language more efficiently and ensure higher academic performance later on. It won’t happen overnight, so be patient, be consistent, and most importantly – be supportive!