When To Teach Your Child A Second Language
As parents, as soon as we have our baby, we jump into the joy of parenting. Everyone can agree that time goes by so quickly and our sleeping little infant is now a bustling little crawler. We try to teach them as quickly as possible everything they need to learn, including language. However, when is an appropriate time to teach a second language? We may want to pass down the language of our culture but we do not want to overwhelm the child and have the child confusing two languages.
Teaching your child your culture’s second language or enrolling them in a language class is a beautiful gift you can give them. They can connect with their culture or learn another culture, be able to communicate with many more people and in the future it will provide further job opportunities. Most countries around the world have more than one official language so get your child started!
Why Be Bilingual?
Why should your child learn a second language? Learning a foreign language takes a lot of work. It takes years to learn a second language and you have to also study the culture and the history to get a great grasp on speaking. You will have to learn to read the language too to get the full benefit. Learning a second language can be a lifetime of incredible opportunity for your child.
Meeting New People
Your child will be exposed to meeting and being able to communicate and befriend a whole new group of people. They can make connections and life long friendships because they speak a second language. If they learn a popular language like Mandarin or Spanish, it opens up a lot of opportunities to make a lot of new friends. Consequently, if they learn a rarer language, those who speak that language will be impressed that someone has taken the time to learn their language.
Career Opportunities When You Speak A Second Language
If your child learns a foreign language, when they begin their career there will be a lot more opportunities for them. Since many companies are global, knowing a second language can give you jobs that never would be presented to you if you spoke only one language. There will be more opportunity to travel with your career and more careers will open up to you.
Companies see bilingualism as an asset and speaking a second languages can create jobs for themselves in big companies. Speaking a second language when other members do not also gives you a lot of job security.
Healing The World- One Language At a Time
Learning another language helps your child communicate with others, as mentioned before. But there is a lot more to friendships, you get to learn a whole culture. When you connect with others, learning a language is often coupled with learning how to read and write in said language. Once you learn how to read and write, you start to learn culture, customs, history and geography. Your child starts to learn about another part of the world and knowledge is power. Children can start to bridge the gap between cultures and help their family better understand another culture.
Teaching Your Child A Second Language: Top Tips
Why teach your child a second language? You know WHY you should teach your child a second language, here is when you should teach your child a second language.
BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN ARE LITTLE SPONGES
Speak to your baby or child slowly and let them hear the pronunciation of each word. If you were teaching your child French as a second language, for example, you would say, pointing to multiple objects, “one, two, three” “un, deux, trois”. Incorporate both languages clearly and consistently. It’s a lot of repeating on your side, but it will make a great deal of difference.
LISTEN TO CHILDREN’S MUSIC IN BOTH LANGUAGES
Youtube is an excellent refresher for you on all of the cute baby songs in your language of choice. Relearn them, let your child sing with you or sing to your child. What a treat it would be for your child to go to school and teach his or her class a song in a different language!
EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO THE CULTURE, NOT JUST THE LANGUAGE
Even though we cannot all jet set to spend an afternoon in France, or have tapas in Spain, we can visit restaurants, areas and people who are of that origin! Have French play dates with other French families! Take your child to that Arabic restaurant you have wanted to try! Order food in the language you are trying to teach your child. Have a day where you try to communicate in your second language with native speakers. People love to teach and are flattered when you walk into their shop or restaurant with a child who is trying to learn the language. They may provide you with other resources or at least, new words with your child. People in the community are great resources for teaching your family new words and how to communicate in different languages.
CELEBRATE THAT CULTURES SPECIAL HOLIDAYS
Attend festive days or celebrate holidays of the language your child is trying to learn. There is always an excuse for a party! Invite friends and family and have your child teach them new words and phrases. Let the student become the teacher!
Find Fun Online Second Language Classes
Finding a language class for your child has never been easier! Not only are their dozens of online classes to choose from, but many of them are free! They are created by people who are native in the language and are constantly analyzing and updating their class so it is easy for people of all ages.
Not only are there free online classes, but their are language apps for all ages! Apps like Duolingo are there to guide you into not only speaking another language but reading another language too. Combined with these other steps, your child will get the grasp of a language in months and become fluent in a few years. This can lead to great careers and also be a bonus for careers in the future.
Do Not Buy The “Learn A Language in a Month” Schemes
Like most major commitments, learning a language is takes time and effort. You learn a language, a culture and a history. Companies that say they can teach your child in weeks or in months are not telling the truth. Of course your child will learn to converse in a basic fashion, but it would take a few years to be fluent. Slow and steady always wins the race!
When To Teach Your Child A Foreign Language
Repeating yourself, exposing your child in your culture and showing them the difference between English and their second language are key points to having a bilingual or multi lingual child. It is a great gift to get your child to connect to their culture, excellent job opportunities in the future and most importantly, your child receives the leadership skills it takes to command in both languages.