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How to help your child learn a foreign language

Your child has just started learning a foreign language at school and you feel overly excited to be part of their journey? Or maybe there are so many tips and tricks you’d like to share with them, but feel a bit worried that they might not share your enthusiasm?

Here are some suggestions to guide you in this endeavour, while making sure your child does not become frustrated and resentful in the process.

  • Don’t teach! Each age group has certain characteristics and teachers know best what methods to use to make sure children can easily understand and retain the new information.  What can you do instead? Be genuinely curious about your child’s language learning journey, not inquisitive or judgmental. Ask the right questions. Don’t ask your child what they have learned in the language class, but rather if they enjoyed the class and what their favourite part was. Your child will be happy to share the things that brought them enjoyment.
  • Play together! Look for fun and competitive games that tackle the topics your child is studying, to help them review and retain information. Discover online games or leaning apps especially for their age group. Print flashcards and stick them around the house. Engage in treasure hunts where the target items are listed in the language they are learning.
  • Watch films and videos in the target language. For younger children, a short song or rhyme can be an amazing vocabulary resource. For older children, Netflix has a variety of series or films to choose from, that are targeted at a specific age group.
  • Buy exciting books in the target language and leave them around the house! Your child won’t resist the temptation of reading Harry Potter or The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Make sure you buy abridged editions, suitable for your child’s language level.
  • Learn while travelling. While on holiday abroad, encourage your child to do their own shopping and build friendships with children from different countries.
  • Add some special celebrations to your annual calendar! Celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving with some original dishes and exciting activities! Build an Advent Calendar full of surprises and messages written in the target language!
  • Send them abroad! It might cost an arm and a leg, but an international camp can do wonders for your child’s language learning success!

And don’t forget to constantly encourage your child and praise their efforts! Keep in mind that every child has their unique learning style and pace!

Article by Lavinia Marcu

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