Language connects us to people of different backgrounds and cultures. If you are not a native speaker of a particular language, but you want your child to learn the language, the best way would be to send your child for language classes. However, with the ongoing pandemic, it would be best if you can help your child to learn the foreign language at home.
Here are 6 helpful tips for parents who want to help their child to self-study a new language:
1. Watch foreign movies or shows with subtitles
Children learn fastest from the media they consume on a daily basis. If your child wants to learn a new foreign language, put on movies or shows with genres that they would enjoy most depending on their age. Make sure to turn on the subtitles, and let your child listen to how the characters in the movie speak or articulate certain words. It is important for them to listen to conversations in order to learn how sentences are structured in a particular language. This can be conducted on a daily basis as a leisure activity for your child.
2. Read and study lyrics of songs
We are able to remember song lyrics easier especially if it has a catchy tune. Find catchy songs in the language that your child wants to learn on music platforms such as Spotify or YouTube. Recommend the foreign language songs and observe the style of songs they respond well to. Once you have a rough idea of what type of songs your child likes, you can create a playlist for them. You can search for the song lyrics online and print out lyrics that are written in the foreign alphabet and the romanised version. Let you child study the lyrics while listening to the song. Since songs can have long lyrics, you can break it down into separate parts so you don’t overwhelm your child.
3. Make use of free online materials
Thanks to the internet, we are able to access new knowledge at our fingertips anytime and anywhere. Platform such as YouTube offer videos that are created by foreign language teachers and native speakers for language learners. These videos are usually categorised into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The lessons are also categorised into grammar, vocabulary, and tips for reading and writing, among others. You will also find helpful podcasts on Spotify that offer quick language lessons on-the-go. In addition, there are free study materials that can be found on several websites.
4. Learn 5 to 10 new words a day
You can search for foreign language word banks online and print them out. Encourage your child to learn at least 5 to 10 new words or phrases with translations a day. You can start out with simple words and eventually transition to more complex words. You can encourage your child to read, pronounce, write, and spell the words from the list that you have printed. Finding words that have a sample sentence would be helpful for your child so that they would know how to use the word in a sentence.
5. Label items at home
Purchase sticker labels and label furniture, kitchen appliances, and other things that can be found at home to help your child recognise the item in the language that they are learning. Spend time with your kids by creating a game where you and your child identify the objects at home. When you create an enjoyable learning environment, your children are able to learn better.
6. Set a schedule
Organise different foreign language learning activities or lessons into a schedule for your child. Since there are many components when it comes to learning a new language, it is best to select one component a day for your child and increase this as your child becomes more confident in the language. Assuming that your child attends online classes for school on weekdays, you can allocate time for learning a foreign language on the weekends instead. Spending at least 30 minutes to an hour a day would suffice. You can allocate one day for grammar and another day for learning to read or write in a foreign alphabet.
When it comes to learning any new knowledge or skill, repetition is essential. The same applies to learning a language. In addition, the earlier your child learns a new language, the better. Try the tips here if you want to help your child to learn a new language at home.
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