We want to give our children everything, right? To squeeze as many new possibilities into each and every one of their days. Finding the balance between what is fun and what is educational is one of the biggest tasks we face. Well here’s a suggestion for you! Why not encourage your family to learn a language, something that’s both fun and practical?
Aside from all the possibilities a second language can lead to for future job prospects and travel, getting to grips with another language is a great boost to your child’s cognitive skills too! Couple that with more chances to communicate, promoting empathy, and gaining a better understanding of other cultures, a second language really is an amazing, versatile tool.
Choosing a language
If you have a big overseas family trip coming up, that can be a great reason to start learning the language of your destination. But if you aren’t thinking about using your language skills for travel just yet, pick one of the more popular languages to learn. Spanish, French, German, and even Mandarin have some of the best resources for learning a language with like the Babel and Duolingo apps, or this Language Trainers website that my friend told me about, as well as the largest numbers of people already studying. You’re in great company!
A little every day
So how do you get your kids to learn a language? Easy – turn everything into a game! Pick a subject to start with and make a list: this could be clothes, food items, anything that you can see around you. Once you have your list make a game of learning it. Over dinner, point to the foods you are eating and say what they are in your new language. If you chose furniture on your list then make remembering those words into a race, by calling out chair, table, or whatever you have written down in your target language, and have your children do the legwork of showing they know what you mean!
Think about the basic words either you learned when you first started learning languages or those you might use every day. Hello, goodbye, please, thank you, how to introduce yourself, ask how are you, even numbers; all of these simple words can be picked up easily before you move on to more complex ones. There are so many apps that will help you with languages so if your kids love their tablets, why not make their time on them educational as well as fun? Youtube is another amazing resource for learning – look up songs to help them remember words and use it to make sure you’re getting the pronunciation right.
Making the most of it
Anything and everything you do with your family you can turn into an opportunity to practice language. If you’re at the supermarket you can practice food and whichever other groceries you are buying. If you’re having an afternoon in the park you can talk about the weather, the people, any dogs being walked, and anything else you can think of!
The key to learning languages with children is to think of it as an adventure. Get creative, learn a little at a time, and make every learning experience a fun one. When is your language adventure going to start?