The benefits of speaking more than one language are numerous and long-lasting. Often, the advantages of bilingualism (or multilingualism) make parents decide to enroll their kids in a language school. If you’re one of these parents, and regardless of the reason behind your wish to motivate your child to learn a second language, prepare for the fact that your kid may not be as enthusiastic. Luckily, there are proven ways to warm your little one to the idea.
How can you help your child learn a new language?
You may be trying to improve your child’s education or preparing them for an international relocation. Either way, it may be necessary to motivate your kid to learn a second language. As no child is the same, there isn’t a unique way to stimulate them to study either. However, one of the following tips is bound to work!
- Learning through play is exciting and effortless for younger children.
- Remove your child’s anxieties that may be hindering the studies.
- Combining the child’s interests with studying is a double win.
- Connecting a child to a particular culture before they start learning the language.
- Get the best from online learning and language apps for kids.
- Inspire your child to learn by setting yourself as an example.
Kids learn languages through play more easily
If they are not fans of studying, they will not notice they’re learning as long as they’re playing. Hence, consider setting different, fun, simple, short-term objectives for your kid so they can apply what they learned. Praising the child after each completed task is excellent motivation. Kids often share mutual interests, and they find it easier to communicate with their peers than adults.
Try to find your child a friend of their age who speaks the preferred language. A good option is to register your kid for an international summer or holiday camp where they can learn about other cultures. Another way is to be a host family to a child from another country. Meeting and playing with a new kid will motivate your child to learn a second language afterward and communicate with new friends more efficiently.
Ease your child’s apprehensions
Before you can think of motivation, you might need to think about removing any obstacles demotivating your child to study a new language. Those barriers can develop from the fear of change. If the reason for learning a second language is relocation, a child who is unhappy or anxious about the move will not accept studying the language easily. Once you turn your home relocation into an exciting and positive endeavor, the move itself can serve as a motivation for learning. While it is a good idea to sort out your belongings before packing as there may be a lot you don’t need to move, carefully consider throwing away your kid’s toys, even if they’ve overgrown them. This may not be the time to attack their comfort zone. Also, make sure you pack your child’s room last and unpack it first. It will make the transition smoother and much more enjoyable and comfortable for your child.
Utilize your child’s interests as a basis
Every child has their own particular interest around which their little world revolves. It is a great idea to use that interest as a foundation for inspiring them to learn. If your child loves music, singing, and dancing, encourage them to learn a new language by playing the songs in that language. With the help of YouTube, browse for a karaoke version of the song and help them translate the lyrics.
Cartoons have always been kids’ favorite pastime and, with the streaming apps available nowadays, it has become even easier to watch them at home. Moreover, some apps allow you to change movie audio as well as subtitles to the language you wish your kid to learn. If your child is an avid reader, you can purchase a few kid’s books designed to teach the preferred language. These books are often written in a simple style and have many pictures that help children understand the material more easily. Also, let your kid choose the topic of the book. Their motivation will last longer.
Introduce your child to a particular culture
Learning a new language is much easier if you already love the culture it belongs to. After all, language is only a part of that culture. If you create an environment where your child feels comfortable with foreign cuisines, arts, and customs, they will want to learn the language with more enthusiasm. If you have the chance, take your kid to a cultural festival or an educational center. Cultural centers and institutes employ experts whose job is to engage children in fun learning activities. Their aim is precisely to motivate kids to learn the language. When possible, consider traveling to a foreign country where your child can get in touch with another language.
Kids enjoy using online apps and courses
You can motivate your little one to learn a foreign language by helping them with online learning. Kids quickly adopt new technologies and find motivation in using them for studying more easily than with standard learning practices. Language learning apps and online courses have evolved considerably in the last several years, offering lessons specifically designed for children. These lessons include videos, games, stories, and songs, all specifically designed to motivate children and keep their attention throughout the learning process.
Lead by example
A child does what a child sees – parents can use this to motivate them to learn a second language. However, it means that a parent should be involved in the process, too. As a role model, you should be seen reading foreign books, listening to music, watching movies, or actually learning a new language. It is a great way to stimulate your child to do the same.