How to Engage Your Child in Learning a Second Language

Learning another language is one of the best things anyone can do. It opens up many doors into
different cultures and it gives us whole new insights, however, it can be a little tricky teach languages to
a child. While young minds definitely have a much easier time grasping new concepts, convincing your
kids to dedicate themselves to a subject and be studious about it is a challenge. Fortunately, all they
need is some gentle encouragement and a good environment in which they can learn, and they’ll grasp
it quickly. Are you eager to help your little one learn their second language? Then take a look at our tips!

Learn along with them
While this is time-consuming, it can be a great way to bond with your child and make learning easier for
both of you. You won’t be able to attend any language classes together of course, but while they learn
at school, you can stay at home and try out apps such as Duolingo to grasp the basics of the new
language and then share the new words you learned with your child. This will encourage them to try
harder at class because children love copying their parents, and you can be a good role model for them
this way.

Use books and cartoons to entertain them

Children have shorter attention spans than adults, and it’s difficult for them to be goal-oriented.
Learning needs to be fun and interesting because monotone classes will simply bore them and make it
difficult for them to care about classes. To help them become more enthusiastic, use the internet to find
media in their target language. You can easily find a bunch of cartoons on YouTube, and you can also
invest in a few children’s books with bright pictures and simple words.

Find a good school

Finding a quality educational center is crucial. Your child needs a positive environment and good
educators to guide them, especially when they’re very young. If English is the second language they’re
trying to learn, then find a school that offers immersive classes suited to their age. If you’re from Hong
Kong then check out courses like the Monkey Tree ESL and try to get them started as early as possible.
The younger they are, the easier it will be for them to learn all they need.

Turn everything into a routine

Kids thrive on routines. Since children often don’t understand why a certain skill might be important to
them in the future, you can’t rely merely on their interest in the language to keep them going. Make
sure to introduce the new language as a constant part of their routine both at school and at home. They
should attend classes regularly, and they should frequently be exposed to media in their target language
so they could be surrounded by it from all sides.
Practice conversation
If you already speak the target language or are currently learning it, then try introducing a “conversation
hour” into your household once a week. During this hour both you and your child are only allowed to
speak in the language they’re trying to learn, and they should have free access to dictionaries, phrase
books, and their course books. Nothing teaches quicker than sheer necessity, so put them in a situation
where they have to rely on their new skills to manage the situation.

Let them spend time with a native speaker

This is similar to the previous point, but it can be even more effective. If possible, help your child make
friends with a few native speakers, and then let them socialize and have playdates a few times a week.
Having a friend who knows how to speak a whole language will be really cool in their eyes, and they’ll
benefit from hearing their fluent speech.

As long as you provide your child with the right environment and make learning interesting, they won’t
have any trouble learning their second language. Put in some effort, help them out, and you’ll soon
enjoy a multilingual family!

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