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Our last blog, Learning French – A lifelong investment for your children (click here), explored how bilingualism provides children great personal and professional possibilities in later life. In another blog, Benefits of Bilingualism for Kids (add link), we saw how learning a second language during childhood contributes to cognitive and socio-emotional development, accelerates learning, and promotes appreciation of diversity.

But how exactly can you teach your child a foreign language? Here are a few tips that make language learning more effective and more enjoyable…

  1. Introduce the language early: The first step in mastering a foreign language is to start as early as possible. In fact, it’s never too early for a child to start learning and benefiting from the increased flexibility and memorization that a second language provides. This does not mean that children can no longer learn a foreign language after adolescence. However, learning a language later means learning differently AND not as easily. So don’t delay, give your child the best chance to learn and master a second language but starting early.
  2. Start by teaching the basics: As a wise person once said, Let’s start at the very beginning, A very good place to start…
    When learning a second language, it’s best to start with the basics such as numbers, colors, alphabet, greetings and shapes. Even if you’re not familiar with the foreign language your child is learning, you can start by watching short educational YouTube videos, for example. Hearing the second language will help your child understand the different sounds. After watching them together, try also repeating the words together. This will enable you to share the learning experience with your child. Another one of the most effective ways to teach your child a foreign language is through music. Whenever you can, play background music in the foreign language and you will see that after a while, you’ll hear the beautiful sound of your child singing in a foreign language.
  3. Learn from a native teacher: External support providers can be extremely helpful for children learning a second language. Try to find a native-speaking teacher who makes your child want to learn. Learning a second language should be approached differently than learning your mother tongue. Children can easily see language learning as a boring extra-curricular activity without understanding how it could benefit them in the future. It is important to cultivate a child’s desire to learn rather than their desire to please you. This is exactly why it’s so important to find a teacher that inspires your child and makes them want to learn. Regardless of their age, children learn best when they are having fun. Whether playing games or drawing, play time together is always the best way to introduce new vocabulary and phrases.
  4. Find opportunities for your child to practice the language: While language lessons, group discussions and other study materials will provide a good foundation for language learning, you will need to find other ways for your child to practice. For example, going on vacation in a country where they can practice the new language is a great way to reinforce what they’ve learned. Finding language groups on social networks is another great way. In fact, any situation in which your child can be immersed in the new language will enable your child to learn. Learning a new language is not easy, and it will not happen overnight. But having the ability to speak a foreign language is a major asset that your child can keep for life.
  5. Associate the new language with fun activities: Children love to play and have fun with games or funny videos. Allocate time for your child to have fun but consider doing some of their favorite activities in the second language. For example, many popular Netflix or Disney shows are also offered in other languages. And some advice from personal experience, start a new movie or show saying that it’s only available in the second language ; ) By associating the new language with things your child already loves, learning a second language won’t feel like a chore!Learning a second language has many benefits for children. If you want your child to become bilingual, then choose the language you want to learn and start now. It is one of the best investments you can make for your child’s future.