How kids can learn a foreign language quickly
It goes without saying that having a foreign language under your belt is a great advantage in the workplace and in the job market too. We know that kids are like sponges – their brains exhibit a high degree of ‘neuroplasticity’ so early childhood is an ideal time for parents to introduce foreign languages to their children. If you want to ensure that your efforts are fruitful and as effective as possible, follow these 5 tips on how to help your child learn a second language quickly and efficiently while having fun.
1. Lessons with native speakers
It can’t go without being said that contact with the target language is fundamental. Online language classes for children with native qualified teachers are becoming an ever more popular affordable option to help kids learn quickly with the best trainers available. Seeing as communication is the aim of the game, a skilled native teacher is capable of encouraging young learners to communicate and will facilitate the learning and consolidation of more complex grammar rules. Furthermore, the bond that blossoms between teacher and student leads to confidence and a feeling of comfort in the child. A child who is happy and confident is going to progress rapidly, that’s for sure. The use of webcam technology such as Skype enables parents to organize lessons at the most convenient times right from the comfort of their homes. This also helps to make the children more at ease, especially at the beginning when they can be very shy.
2. Set your TV to the target language
Whether your prefer Netflix, HBO, YouTube or Amazon Prime video, most platforms these days have an option to select and change the audio language. Peppa pig and paw patrol for the youngest, Jessie and Pokemon for the bigger boys and girls – there is usually something available to meet all tastes. Don’t be tempted to used the dubbed version, watching TV in a foreign language helps children develop essential listening skills in as well as what can only be described as an instinct for understanding context. This instinct enables children to be able to pick up a language quickly when it comes to grammar and vocabulary points later in life. An interesting option here is to use the subtitles in the same language as the content you’re watching. If you are trying to help your kids to learn English for example and they can already read, then by all means activate the subtitles in English so that they can read along and learn spelling and associate written words with their pronunciation.
3. Phone and tablet language learning apps
Take advantage of the digital age and the tendency that most youngsters have these days to stay glued to a screen for hours on end! Apps are addictive – they are designed to be that way, so you can almost guarantee that your child will get hooked if you find the right app in play store. Educational language apps for kids are motivating, in addition to being a great way to encourage independent learning from a young age. It has been clearly demonstrated that motivation is an important factor in any learning process, motivated children will learn more quickly.
4. Music, songs and dance
Kids love to move, especially the littlest ones. Just the thought of having a child sit still at a table looking at boring flashcards and expressionless faces is a nightmare for many parents. Take advantage of those naturally wiggly bottoms and have your children get up and dance to songs in the language you would like them to learn.
This is highly effective because not only are the little tots absorbing the sounds and foreign words as the bop along, but also the movement means that blood is pumping faster round their system and their senses are actually neurologically stimulated. The language learning is quicker and more effective as a result.
5. Start as young as possible
It is said that the fetus in the womb is capable of distinguishing sounds in speech as soon as the hearing apparatus develops. With reason, it is therefore believed by neuro-linguistic experts that talking to your pregnant belly in a foreign language as well as your native tongue is not only stimulating in terms of neuronal development, but also beneficial in terms of language acquisition in the womb. It cannot be stressed enough that it is never too early to start introducing foreign languages to children, in fact, the younger, the better. While it is true that older children and adults are capable of learning languages later in life, there is no comparison when it comes to accent and pronunciation of a language learnt very young.
So there you have it, the top five tips on how to help your kids learn languages quickly from Break Into English, who provide English classes via Skype for children of all ages. Be sure to try them out and let us know how you get on – if you have any more to add to the list, leave a comment below.