Fri, 06 Apr 2018 11:38:47 +0000Géralde Vincent-BancroftWe talked about the multiple benefits children can reap when learning a foreign language.
We also established that the best time to learn a language is before puberty. Some researchers even point out that ” the critical period” ( best time to learn a language ) is between 3-5 years old….
We talked about the multiple benefits children can reap when learning a foreign language.
We also established that the best time to learn a language is before puberty. Some researchers even point out that ” the critical period” ( best time to learn a language ) is between 3-5 years old. nevertheless the optimum period for your child to learn is now.
I will give you a few ways you can start introducing a new language to your child.
1- Find friends who speak the language
The best way should be to introduce your child to friends they can play with, who speak the language you want them to learn. It’s a fun way to do it, they will be highly motivated because they are willing to communicate with their new friend, and the time lapse to start using this new language will be shorter. I am aware that this is not always possible.
2- Repetition is key
Do an activity with them in their mother tongue, The following day, repeat this same activity but in the language you want them to learn, this time. Keep switching back and forth from mother tongue to second language. you will notice that they very quickly will start matching words in the two languages. Start with physical objects like room furniture and basic words like colours, numbers and basic grammar structures.
When my daughter was two years old, I used a set of giant flashcards showing her the objects and repeating their meaning in French. She was able to give you the correct answer for a 20 card deck in no time.
3- Use Non-verbal communication
We all use non-verbal cues to express ourselves and children are very good at understanding them. Make your gestures funny and memorable because if you evoke strong emotions it will be easier for the brain to fix things in their long-term memory.
Say the word you want them to learn with the action and make them mimic both until they memorise it.
4- Let them get familiar with the sound of the target language
Allow them to listen to children songs as often as possible. They will surely start memorising and singing them after a while. let them watch short cartoon videos, first in their mother tongue and then switch to the target language. Repeat the process as often as possible and they will make the associations between both languages.
Find a radio station online, and let them hear it whilst they are playing with their toys. They will pick up the sounds and will be able to repeat them when necessary.
5- Make them use the language
Have simple conversations with them in the target language. When asked a question, if they answer in their mother tongue, prompt them to say it in the second language.
6- Encourage your child
When they use the language correctly, you should truly appreciate their effort. On the other hand be patient and kind when they commit mistakes. Never pressure them because you could put them off trying to speak, and they could refuse to engage for good. Make it clear that they won’t be punish for getting it wrong, and that it does not actually matter.
I encourage you to try these tips and make your child’s learning experience fun so that she/he can reap all the advantages that multilingualism will bring to them as they grow up.