5 Easy Ways to Introduce Foreign Languages to Your Kids

Learning a foreign language is currently more widespread than ever. As we’re quickly moving into the era of globalization, being accustomed to a foreign language can come in handy. For instance, Mandarin is a great language to learn in order to have the upper hand in the corporate world. Spanish is another language extensively spoken in the Southern American regions and is now mushrooming across the globe.

Apart from the real-world applications, being bilingual or multilingual can positively impact one’s neural activity. Evidently, multilingual individuals have an enhanced ability to multitask by switching between languages. Similarly, bilingualism improves cognition, showing a correlation with better attention and memory retention.

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Seeing that being a multilingual individual has so many added gains, it is no wonder that many parents nowadays make sure their kids learn a second language. However, while multilingual families have an advantage in this area, monolingual parents may not have it as easily. So, if you’re a parent looking for ways to introduce a foreign language into your children’s vocabulary, do not worry. We’re here to share the top five methods that you can follow to teach your child a second language.

The earlier, the better

Introduce the second language to your child as early as possible. Children tend to absorb information like a sponge at earlier stages in their childhood. This is mainly because children have a developing prefrontal cortex. In addition, the ongoing development means that the brain’s neuroplasticity is high, making it flexible to changes and new information.

Consequently, neural pathways are more easily formed, leading to efficient learning and effortless formation of habits. This means that learning a foreign language will be a piece of cake for a child compared to an adult. Therefore, establishing a foreign language in your child’s life at a younger age is arguably the best way to make it the norm.

Incorporate the basics into everyday life

Now that you’re aware of starting your child’s foreign language journey as soon as possible, here’s how to begin introducing it. A gentle reminder: it’s never too late to begin! The best way to kick things off is to incorporate the second language of your choice into your daily life.

For starters, you could teach your kids about colors, shapes, and animals they see in real life. This way, children can use memory by association to recall words from their second language. Verbal teaching is a flexible method of incorporating a second language into your child’s daily life. It is also a great way to teach proper pronunciation.

Aside from verbal teaching methods, some kids are more receptive when they have an additional visual or kinesthetic aid. Therefore, identifying and catering to your child’s learning style is important to find a suitable and delightful teaching method. For example, labeling toys, using flashcards, and playing with toys that resemble the word you want to teach are great ways to enhance your child’s understanding of a foreign language.

Make learning fun

While teaching your kids a new language through books is alright, this traditional method may not be so fun for them. Eventually, they get distracted and start ignoring you; that’s as far as learning goes for that day. However, all is not lost; we’re lucky to live in an era where resources in mass media are not only abundant but also extremely accessible.

A simple trick is to teach language through songs. With remotes in hand, have a karaoke session with your kids in the living room. You can be a fun parent and educate your kids while you’re at it! After that, you can take a day off, switch on the TV, and browse through the wide selection of educational kids’ shows online. Stories and nursery rhymes in foreign languages are bound to catch their attention. 

Professional guidance can go a long way

If you’re not proficient in a second language yourself, hiring a professional at some point in your child’s multilingual journey would be advisable. Private tutors are able to give your child the guidance they need to move forward and advance their language skills. Language classes are also a place where your child can sharpen their written language abilities.

On another note, if the cost seems to be an issue, you could consider hiring an online tutor instead. Online tutoring has pretty much the same effects as face-to-face tuition, but the fees are generally lower. Besides that, you can easily adjust the schedule, also the kids can learn from the comfort of home. An interesting idea, right?

Practice conversing

The best way to retain the memory of a foreign language is to practice it. So, conversing with people proficient in a second language will provide your child with the opportunity to apply their learnings in real situations. If finding international friend groups is hard, safe verified online platforms are the way to go. With the best laptop, your child can have a conducive environment to mingle and bond with online friends.

As they say, language is a vehicle of culture; being multilingual can open your child up to diverse practices and understanding of various concepts. While all the benefits are enticing, make sure to let your child have fun throughout learning. This way, they will not only look forward to learning a foreign language but also take the initiative to explore it themselves!

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