Every language you speak presents a new window of opportunity to thrive and succeed in life. Since most of us are aware of this fact, it’s no wonder that so many parents nowadays want their children to get an academic and social advantage by learning a foreign language. However, parents often have a hard time deciding when to introduce their child to a new language and how to find the best way of doing it successfully. Listed below are some helpful answers to these common dilemmas:
What’s the difference between speaking fluently and being bilingual?
Being bilingual means that you can speak both languages equally as well and that you can switch between them with ease, without making any grammatical or pronunciation errors, while speaking a language fluently means that there could be a noticeable accent present or that there is a possibility of some grammatical structures being too complicated of confusing to use. If you want your child to be truly bilingual, the best option would be to provide them with the opportunity to interact with a native speaker, in order to acquire the language, instead of learning it.
How early should our children start learning?
Opinions on this subject significantly vary, but if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s to start as early as possible. The minds of little children truly are like sponges – they absorb new knowledge and experience without putting any effort into it or even being aware that they’re doing it. Of course, that is not to say that it is impossible for a child to learn a new language even if they start in their teenage years, but it would take them much more time and effort to acquire native-like knowledge. While some even claim that you can introduce a second language to a child during infancy, anytime from their toddler age to puberty is a perfectly fine time to start learning a foreign language.
Who should teach them?
If you live in a bilingual family, then you are in luck! All you have to do is have one parent or family member speak to the child in one language all the time, and the other one in another, and you’ll have a child that grows up with two mother tongues. If you aren’t as lucky, the best option is to find a good school with proficient teachers and a creative study program, such as the experienced Mulberry House. It is vital for your child to have passionate, native speaking teachers, who will find the best method and tempo for working with them, teaching them more than simply grammatical rules. People like these dedicate all of their time and effort into providing your child with the practical knowledge of a language, so that they can one day use it in all aspects of their life.
How can you help?
The most important thing to do is encourage your little ones by getting them to start learning a different language and finding a great school or teacher. It is also crucial for your child to hear people speak the foreign language, so you might want to opt for a language that is spoken by people close to you or one you can often hear on the TV. If you also happen to know the language your child is learning, use your knowledge to expand their vocabulary. Play them songs in that language, teach them new words whenever you can and make sure they pronounce them correctly. Finally, never push your child too hard, but rather let them take their time without any pressure, since that’s the only way to ensure they are enjoying the whole process.
The more years committed to learning a new language and the more use of it made, the greater the proficiency that will be achieved. So, start as soon as possible and always be there to support your little ones in their efforts.
About the author:
Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”