Kids are like sponges and the younger you start teaching them a new language the easier they will absorb it. However, unless you have been speaking the language at home since they were born, it doesn’t mean that they will pick it up straightaway or that it will come incredibly easy for them – you will need to work at it a little.
Teaching your child a second language is not compulsory but it is an incredibly useful tool for them to have and one that will serve them well as they grow.
If you are hoping to at least introduce your toddler to another language, then bear in mind these tips:
1. Head to restaurants of your chosen language
For instance, if you want your child to learn French or Italian, head to a restaurant that has their menu written in the native language. While your preschooler won’t be able to read it, they will, however, become familiar with the visual aspect of the language in terms of how it looks when written down.
2. Make use of TV shows and films
While it might seem very basic to you if you’re fluent in a particular language, shows like Dora the Explorer or Diego are useful at making young children comfortable with the language. Not only are the shows educational they are enjoyable so your little one will subconsciously absorb the information without really thinking about it.
3. Set small little goals
To make it easier on both of you set small little weekly goals that are a lot more manageable. Learning one or two new words a week will mean neither of you are stressed and it is also a great way to manage their learning without overwhelming them too much.
4. Speak it yourself
You can’t expect your preschooler to learn an entirely new language if you never utter a word in anything other than your native tongue. So even if you are in the process of learning yourself, intertwining the two languages into your everyday life will help both of you learn that little bit quicker.
5. The importance of visual is key
The more often your child sees words written in your chosen language the quicker they will pick it up. So leave sticky notes around your home for instance on the door, fridge, bath etc with the name of the item in the language you want your child to learn.
While it is easier for them to learn the younger they are, it is NEVER too late to introduce your child to another language.