Only 7.7% of the UK population can speak another language fluently. Second languages are best learnt from early childhood when the brain is already in the process of learning new words and phrases. Here are some tips to get your child speaking another language.
Studies have found that children are more easily able to pick up pockets of grammar simply by hearing them repeated, whilst adults may struggle to learn these grammar rules. You don’t have to wait until they’re in secondary school to start the language learning process – in fact, primary school might be the best time to start learning. The language is likely to be picked up more naturally, just as we pick up English from a young age.
Use language learning resources for children
There are lots of language learning tools out there, but not all of them are suitable for children. Use sticker books and language-learning video game apps and interactive audiobooks. It’s worth reading reviews online before paying for such language tools so that you know your kid is going to want to get involved. There are lots of free language learning sources out there that can also be worth trying out.
Expose them to foreign films, TV and music
Media sources in another language such as foreign films, TV and music can all be used to further help your child pick up another language. These are best used from a young age. Consider playing animated films in another language and foreign music aimed at children that will capture their attention. You can consider also using English subtitles for films and TV shows as an aid.
Inspire them by travelling abroad
Travelling to another country can help your children to test out their language skills in a practical setting. This could be something as simple as letting them order their meal when the waiter comes to the table. Children will also be able to test their reading skills on signs and menus. It could be a fun family holiday in which you can all get into the swing of speaking another language. For older children and teens, there are other options such as residential trips for schools and foreign exchange programmes. These can be great for allowing your child to learn another language, whilst also giving them a feeling of independence.
Consider hiring a tutor
If you yourself are not fluent in the chosen second language, it could be worth hiring a language tutor to help. They can come round your house for an hour a week and help to teach your child in a fun manner. There are other options that may be available in your area such as language learning clubs for kids. Choose an option that’s kid-friendly so that you know your child is going to be motivated to learn.