We know how complicated it is to make it easier for our children to speak a 2nd language at home when we, the parents, do not master it or do not even know it; Surely if you are one of those who have tried it, you have felt insecure doing it, but do not worry because it is something more common than you think, nor be discouraged, because helping children to practice different languages at home is one of the The improvements things that you can do for them both in the short, long and term, and with the help of some tricks that in this article we will give you, it will not be as difficult as it seems.
That our children learn a 2nd language at home since they are born has multiple benefits, and we are not referring only to the educational and professional opportunities that this offers, but it favors their communication and verbal expression skills, provides greater mental flexibility, is a good memory training, in addition to improving attention and stimulating critical thinking (you can find out more about this in our article: Is it good or bad for our children to speak several languages?); But for this, contact with the language cannot be limited only to the classrooms in which it is taught, because in addition to the fact that it can be interpreted as another subject to “learn”, they will not feel it as their own, which will hinder their learning .
For this reason, we advise you to make practicing different languages a habit, and for this we give you some simple guidelines that will help you achieve it:
- Wrap yourself in security.
First of all, do not forget that practicing different languages implies making mistakes, and that making mistakes is not a bad thing, it simply shows your ability to improve, which is already a good example for our children.
Do not worry about your accent (“the way of speaking is a reflection of the identity of the person, and the accent reveals who we are, it does not condition to make a correct use of the language. – British Council), nor to rectify the mispronouncing or confusing a word, this will help them not to feel insecure when practicing languages outside the home, as they will naturally see making mistakes and rectifying them.
Remember that we are their best or worst example, they learn by imitation.
- Ally yourself with routine.
Establishes practicing other languages as a routine, children feel more comfortable and confident when they know what to expect, and better assimilate what they have learned; To do this, try to do certain activities at the same time every day, such as:
1. Enjoy TV always in original version; Nothing is easier to practice another language than through their favorite drawings or series, and the older the child, the more they will like to repeat phrases and words of their superheroes.
2. The book to read every night that is always in another language; Reading books is the easiest and most effective way for children to assimilate grammar and internalize vocabulary, starting with books full of images in which our contribution is essential, since we will be the ones to name each image, like loaded adventure books vocabulary for the older ones.
3. Involve them in household chores by practicing vocabulary, such as writing the shopping list, naming each plate, covered… when setting the table before dinner, when ordering their toys; Take advantage of these moments to ask them what the different objects are called with which you can practice (how do you say glass in English? And spoon? Let’s name your toys while we pick them up …).
- Learning through games.
Playing in another language is the best technique to learn it, and parents have this very easy, in addition to the plus that results from learning or practicing a 2nd language with them while we spend quality time as a family, as there are various board games that we can find how they are “The vocabulary cards”, Hangman, I spy (I see, I see), Simon says (Simon says) …
- Apps in different languages.
Our children were born in the age of the internet and they handle new technologies better than we do, which we can use as an asset in our favor;
There is a wide range of applications specialized in language teaching and highly personalized.
- Set all your electronic devices in another language.
How many electronic devices do we use every day at home? Many, either when putting on the TV, calling a family member, or preparing dinner with the help of a food processor.
The fact that these devices are configured in another language will make the little ones get used to reading and following basic instructions in this language.
- Music … may we never lack !.
Songs are one of the most effective and used methods in kindergartens and schools for children to learn new vocabulary in a fun way; Playing songs in another language and singing them daily will help them learn new words and improve their pronunciation.
- Summer camps in another language.
It is increasingly common to find summer camps in a language other than the official language of the country, both by foreign families residing in it, and to facilitate children to practice other languages in a fun way, immersing them for hours in different playful activities in company of children his age.
A quick way to learn new expressions and improve pronunciation, while strengthening your confidence; Better impossible.
- Travel to countries with different languages.
Mixing leisure with learning always brings benefits, and nothing better if we season it with unforgettable family moments such as those that arise while traveling. Putting them in different situations in which understanding another language is a necessity will help them learn and strengthen the language. The child learns more when they are presented with challenges, that is, when they have to make an effort, and nothing better if they go to reinforcements and support that the parents give them, such as congratulating them every time they have helped to achieve something on the trip thanks to practicing properly that language.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Repetition is a staple of learning, children often need to hear words and phrases many times before they feel ready to produce them themselves.
It is proven that through the use of repetition, children feel more comfortable and it is easier for them to learn the information heard, read or sung.
Do not worry if your child does not start speaking a second language immediately, or does not like the ideas that you apply, it takes a certain time to absorb what has been learned and make new changes routine.
Whatever the ideas or ways that best suit your family to practice a 2nd language at home, the most important thing is to have fun doing it, creating endearing experiences for both you and your children. Do not forget that you have the Marbella Family team to support you in this wonderful experience that we hope, enjoy it to the fullest.