Top Tips to Help Your Child Learn a New Language
**This is a collaborative post.
People who speak more than one language are at an advantage when it comes to travel, work and their social lives. Fluency in another language is more important than you might think. Research in the last decade by neurologists, psychologists and linguists, using the latest brain-imaging equipment, has revealed many cognitive benefits for bilinguals.
Bilingual people are proven to recover faster from brain injuries and strokes than monolingual people and what’s more, bilingual people actually have more grey matter than monolingual people!
That’s as good a reason as any to help your child learn more than one language! This girl’s Catholic school in Twickenham, Middlesex believes in starting children young, so they offer languages to children in the early years of their school careers. That’s at age 4 onwards.
How can you help your child?
If you’re bilingual, speak to them in both languages. There’s no detrimental effect from doing this at all. It used to be believed that children from homes where more than one language was spoken would grow confused and even be behind their peers at school.
This is not true…in fact, quite the opposite! Children catch on very quickly and if they know that Mummy speaks to them in French and Daddy in Italian or English, that’s fine!
What if you can’t speak another language?
Doesn’t matter a jot! Get your child some fun cartoons to watch on YouTube, use the channels which offer subtitles and watch the cartoons together. Practice saying the words. Count with them and try to construct sentences in whichever language you want them to learn.
Another fun idea is to play some word games in a different language. Simple word finders are a good place to begin…most children love these because they’re satisfying to complete.
Visit the country in question
Going on a holiday to a country which speaks another language really cements the idea of it in a child’s mind. Children have amazing capabilities and if you point out street signs and let them speak to shop keepers, they’ll grow enormously in their confidence.
Above all, encourage them in their efforts. Praise them for any interest they show in different languages. Let them learn all about the country in question and its people.
Your child’s natural curiosity will be their best teacher!