Being bilingual is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Luckily, more and more parents start to realize the benefits of raising bilingual children.
In this post, I will share some tips to help parents, especially parents who don’t speak the second language themselves.
As we know, speaking a second language brings many benefits for our children.
Unlike most of us, our children will live in a highly global society because of the development of modern transportation, technology, especially the popularity of Internet.
By learning a second language, our children will be ready for a diverse modern society in the mindset, they also gain a powerful tool to communicate better with most of people in the world.
With parents’ support and participation, learning a new language can turn into a child’s enjoyable journey.
So what can we do?
1, Show your interest in the target language that you wish your child to learn.
Kids are smart. They are great observers.
If their parents show no interest in the new language, a child will get an idea soon that this language is not worth learning.
If you show your respect for the new language and its culture, your child will be more willing to try harder to learn.
If you are a native speaker of the second language that you child is learning, try to talk to your child all the time in your native language.
Set up a rule that your native language is your home language, so the child can only speak your native language in the house.
If he doesn’t know how to speak some certain words, teach him.
Encourage your child to practice his second language that is your native language with your family back in your home country.
Take your child with you to hang out with your friends and their children who speak the same native language as you do.
By doing so, you convey a message to your child: The second language is useful and important.
If you don’t speak the second language, don’t worry, you still have choices.
You could start to learn the language together with your child, which will make the language learning more fun.
If you have no time for learning the new language, at least ask your child to teach you some words he learned from the language class.
Your child will be glad to help you and feels proud of his new language ability.
2, Provide your child various learning materials and opportunities to explore the second language.
Support your child’s learning with many books and CDs. Take your child to a library to borrow books. Download language learning apps to mobiles or tablets.
Have him watch videos on youtube or online language learning websites. Make friends with other people who are native speakers of the second language.
Take your child to local ethnic events related with the culture of second language.
Bring your child and family to the ethnic restaurant where you can ask for an menu written in the second language.
Ask the waiter or waitress to teach your child some simple words on the menu or have a simple conversation with the waiter or waitress in their native language.
Encourage your child to practice as much as he can. You will be surprised how fast he makes progress.
3, Have fun.
Kids love having fun. Learning should be fun, especially when it comes to learn a new language.
Interest is the best teacher.
Don’t bore your child with boring teaching stuffs or they will never like learning the second language.
Always make the learning fun if possible.
Singing a song is fun. Reading a story book is fun. Watching video and movies is fun.
Giving your pet a foreign name is fun. Making a language book is fun. Playing language games is fun.
Be creative to find a lot of ways to support your child’s learning while enjoy the fun time together. Your child will love learning his new language. You will find it enjoyable too.