7 Tips to Teach Your Child a New Language
The world is increasingly becoming more connected. The likelihood that you will need to connect with someone who speaks a different language is very high. Preparing your child to be successful in a global world is essential to their success. Teaching your child a new language is a great way to prepare them for the future.
When children are younger, their brains are more malleable and able to learn new languages very easily. Between the ages of 0-3, children are better able to pick up on the varying sounds, inflections, and intonations of new languages. This will help them with learning how to speak fluently and with better pronunciation.
How does learning a second language benefits children?
There are many benefits to encouraging your child to learn a second language, they will have:
- Increased brain strength – Learning a second language increases your child’s brain strength. Research has found that bilingual people’s brains are denser. Increased brain density is associated with improved memory and concentration.
- Improved problem-solving and cognitive skills – Studies have shown that even very young babies who are exposed to more than one language develop different cognitive patterns than babies who are only exposed to one language. The theory is that because multilingual brains have to switch between languages, their brain is, essentially, constantly “exercising: which increases cognitive functions.
- Enhanced creativity – Learning a second language expands a child’s understanding of the world. They learn to consider a variety of perspectives and think outside of the box. This leads to enhanced creativity.
- Fosters an appreciation for other cultures – While learning a new language, children are exposed to different cultures. They develop an appreciation for the cultures they learn, and it makes them more empathetic citizens of the world.
7 tips to teach your child a second language:
1- Hire a tutor or have your child spend time with someone who speaks another language fluently
Find a native speaker that your child can spend time with. This can be a tutor, a nanny, a neighbor, or a friend. Learning a new language through social interactions is a great way to learn. It is the most effective method for learning a new language. Traveling can also be a great way of immersing your child in the language and culture that you would like them to learn.
2- Enroll your child in a language immersion school
Language immersion schools are growing in popularity. By enrolling your child in a language immersion school, your child will learn to speak a new language very quickly. In language immersion schools, children also develop a more multicultural perspective of the world in addition to learning a new language.
3- Play music in the language you want your child to learn
Use music as a fun way of teaching your child a new language. Your child will not even realize they are learning because they are having so much fun! The words will be unfamiliar to them at first, but over time they will begin to repeat the words in the song. Music is an easy way for their brains to absorb a new language as many songs use rhyming words, and rhymes are often easy for children to remember.
4- Start with simple phrases that you commonly use throughout the day
If you are only fluent in one language, teaching your child a second language might feel daunting. You can start by learning simple phrases that you regularly say to your child. Learn phrases like: “Good morning”, “How are you?”, and “Are you hungry?” These are phrases are used often, so they will easily learn them.
5- Be consistent and use repetition
The more often your child hears words in another language, the quicker they will learn those words. Consistently exposing them to another language will help with their acquisition.
6- Use language learning applications
If your child has a tablet or a computer, you can download language learning apps to help them learn. The apps are engaging and will help your child learn a new language quickly.
7- Find books in the language you want your child to learn
Many parents already read books as a regular part of their night-time routines with their children. This is a great time to incorporate books into a new language. The books will provide a visual for your child to connect the new words to.
How will your child benefit from learning a second language as an adult?
There are many benefits your child will gain by learning a second language, but how will being multilingual affect their lives as adults? Adults who learn multiple languages as a child:
- Are impacted less by the effects of cognitive diseases – Studies have shown that adults who are multilingual tend to have less memory loss, and have delayed onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms, than adults who are monolingual.
- Have an increased ability to communicate with others – Multilingual adults can communicate with more people, due to their ability to understand more languages. In a world that is becoming more globally connected, this is an asset.
- Earn higher salaries, and are sought after by employers – Employers often prefer candidates who are multilingual. Many businesses have clients across the globe, and they need staff who can communicate with a wide range of individuals. Due to their high employability, multilingual people on average earn higher salaries than monolingual people.
In a globally connected world, learning a new language has many benefits. Parents should start teaching new languages to their children at a young age. When children are young, their brains are better suited to absorb the sounds, and meanings of words; learning a new language comes very naturally to young children because their brains are more malleable.
By learning another language, children’s brains are strengthened and they have increased memory ability and creativity. The benefits extend to adulthood; multilingual adults have more success finding employment and are impacted less by a variety of cognitive diseases. Multilingual adults are more open to new cultures and develop more empathy for others. Learning a new language prepares children for the multicultural world we live in.