As a parent, you probably have heard about why it is so important to raise bilingual children. There are benefits to their neural development, it helps the child to be more social, and of course, it can really benefit their career and travel opportunities down the line.
According to ResumeCroc, the demand for teachers who can speak and write multiple languages increases three times in 2020.
What’s not always so clear, however, is how to bring a successful language learning practice into the home.
In this article, we will cover the top ways to bring language learning into your home.
Make language learning engaging and enjoyable
I truly believe that this first step is the foundation of the last two. Making the learning engaging and enjoyable is the number one way to keep your kids interested (and in many cases, to get them interested in the first place!)
There are a number of ways to go about doing this. Picture books and other media assets can really help hook them in, especially if there are animated images to accompany. If you can find language learning videos aimed at kids, the creators of these have done most of the work for you — they understand what kids want and need, and have built their videos to incorporate them.
One thing that probably won’t work with younger kids are mobile apps. The advanced skills and reading necessary to use many apps are not suitable for younger kids, and anyhow, kids will find them boring and unenjoyable.
We also recommend starting small, with 10 to 15-minute study sessions built around material that the family members find to be fun. If you can tie in family stories including relatives or fun times like vacation, that is only going to help your cause.
Try flashcards and games
It’s not easy to keep kid’s attention, and it’s even harder to do so when they are teenagers.
But that’s where flashcards and games come into play. You can build these around whatever your kids are into right now, maybe that’s a specific superhero or maybe for older kids, it’s an action story.
Getting them to relate to the material is key to motivating them to learn a second language!
There are fun ways to get started like with language learning podcasts that cover small skills and give the family a chance to practice them together. Watching age-appropriate movies and television shows is another great option as well.
Showcase your own examples
Think back to when your youth. How did you best receive information that was completely foreign to you?
Your kids likely will do best in the same ways, so you have the advantage of knowing what worked for you might work for them as well.
Ultimately, you want to present the benefits of learning another language in a way that excites them and that makes the process enjoyable and the end result seem achievable and tangible.
This is the best way to get your kids on board with the long-term prospects of learning a new language, and to understand why it will help them now and in the future.
Bring the language home, and then bring your family to the language!
As we’ve noted, the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. If you can take a family trip to a country that speaks the language your kids are learning, that will not only showcase the language in its native state, it will give your kids a crash course in the culture that built the language.
Of course, traveling isn’t always an option, for many reasons. Depending on where you live, you may be able to bring your family to the language much closer to home. Many big cities have some form of a local language exchange program, where you can meet with expats or speakers of another language who are trying to learn English and spend 30 minutes speaking each language.
Your family could also consider hosting a foreign exchange student, as this is a great way for your kids to have a friend who speaks the language they are learning. In many cases, kids go on to travel to that country and visit this foreign exchange student down the line, creating a lifelong partnership that broadens everyone’s horizons.
According to language experts, students learning the new languages speaking and writing should focus on sentence structure because it is an essential thing of any language. It provides us with the framework for the clear written expression of our ideas.
Ellie Cross is a content manager at Essays.uk who has helped students for a long time. She manages a growing team of great writers and content marketers who contribute to a great extent to help students with their academics.