Hey, reader! I’m Lauren, a British copywriter, lifelong language learner and the new blogger here at the Language Mindset.
I’ve been studying languages since the age of 12, after a family holiday sparked my curiosity in different cultures. Since then, I’ve learnt French, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and I recently started learning Spanish with the wonderful Juliana.
We’ve been exchanging random comments on Instagram for months about our shared love for languages. So, when the conversation turned to which ones to learn next and I mentioned Spanish, we realised we should totally be working together.
As I navigate my way through Spanish (which will be fun considering I can’t roll my Rs), I’ll also be writing about all things language, culture and curiosity here on the Language Mindset blog. I hope you enjoy my musings, and if you want to hear about any topics in particular, drop a comment below. Bonne lecture!
Anyone who’s learnt a language before will know that it’s a process that takes a LOT of practice and persistence.
The ups and downs can be hard for highly motivated adults to persevere through. So how can you keep your kiddos engaged throughout their language learning journey?
One of the most effective ways to nurture their natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge is by making the language a part of their everyday life.
Regardless of whether you speak the language, there are plenty of ways you can support your little ones with language learning at home.
1. Watch TV shows
One entertaining and effective way to support your children's language learning at home is through watching TV shows in the target language.
This helps them get familiar with the different sounds and naturally pick up new words and expressions.
The more your kiddo enjoys what they’re watching, the more likely they’ll be to actively listen and focus on what’s going on. So try out different shows to see which they like best.
If introducing a new show in a new language sounds like a stretch, start by switching a show you know they like into the target language. That way, they’ll be able to follow even if they don’t fully understand.
2. Read storybooks
Just like stories help young children build their vocabulary and communication skills in their first language, they can help them learn a second.
Stories bring the language to life, making it more meaningful, memorable and engaging by giving context to words and phrases your kiddos recognize.
This makes it easier for them to retain new language and builds their confidence in using it.
And, of course, they’re really easy to integrate into a home learning routine.
Is your kiddo learning Italian? Check out Salt & Pepper, Juliana’s Italian language storybook for beginner learners.
3. Play games
Children are more likely to retain new words when they can associate them with situations, conversations or pictures than if they’re reading a vocabulary list.
That’s why games are such a great language learning tool. Try bringing the language to life and challenging them to practise what they know by playing games like Taboo or Snap.
4. Learn with them
Making the target language a shared hobby you can enjoy together can be a great way to encourage your kiddos to stick with it.
When they see you making an effort to learn, they’ll feel more motivated to do so themselves. Who knows, you may even ignite their competitive side as they try to learn more words or grammar than you!
If you don’t have time to actively learn a language, instead try asking them to teach you something. A word a day? A new phrase they learned?
Giving your child the chance to share knowledge with you can remind them just how much they know, which is essential for encouraging them to keep learning.
5. Create a routine
Routine is key to anyone’s language learning journey, but even more so for kids. If you spring the language on them when they least expect it, they might start to see it as a chore. And it’s crucial the language is something they enjoy.
So, whichever activities you choose to support language learning at home, make them a part of your daily or weekly routine.
For example, change up their bedtime stories for one in the target language, play a game after dinner or ask them to teach you a word a day.
By integrating the language into your daily routine, you’ll find they come to expect and (hopefully) look forward to it. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
These are just some ways you can support language learning at home.
But we encourage you to chat with your kiddo and find out what they like about their classes. Chances are they’ll have their own ideas of how they’d like to practise at home.
If you’re looking to enrol your kiddo on an immersive language program, explore our weekly live language clubs in Spanish, French, and Italian.
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