In a globalized world, being able to speak a second or third language is something that offers people value for the rest of their lives. While there is a lot of evidence that says the younger a child learns, the better, children acquire pronunciation, accent, and grammar rules best before the end of their teenage years.
So, how can you help your child become fluent?
1. Speak with them
If you already speak the language they’re studying, it will be easier for your child to feel comfortable trying to speak it. Just as they learned their native language from you, they’ll benefit from trying to practice language skills together. You can help them establish a good foundation with the comfort of home, away from exam scores or the classroom.
2. Study with them
One of the best ways to encourage your child to practice something that might be tedious or even difficult at times is to join them. Study with your child and show them that you can overcome any challenges together. It will show them they’re not alone, help strengthen their skills, and it’s a great way to feel connected to each other.
3. Find entertainment in that language
Think about how your family likes to be entertained together. Is there a TV series you all like to watch? How about movies? There are loads of great films and TV shows out there that offer subtitles or even audio in different languages. Turn those on next time you’re going to have a family movie night and see if you can pick out any of your favorite phrases together.
4. Have them join a language course
Language courses are a great way to learn quickly. And while your child’s school may not offer one, there should be plenty of community organizations that offer your child the chance to expand on their language skills. Another great alternative is to find a prep course abroad where your child can be fully immersed in the language and build a stronger foundation with it.
5. Find study groups
Along with a language course, your child could benefit greatly from joining a group. A lot of communities have after-school programs, classes at a local recreation center, or other community groups where your child can find friends and peers who are also trying to improve their skills.
6. Look within your community
Speaking of building upon your community, do you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who speaks the language your child is trying to learn? Let them know about your situation and invite them over to chat in the language your child is studying. Try to host a dinner or activity you try together where everyone only speaks it.
7. Use apps and online tools
Another great way to supplement your child’s learning is to use apps and online tools. One of the most famous apps at the moment is Duolingo. It’s a great way to practice short phrases, learn new vocabulary, and even try pronunciation. Some other popular tools include Memrise, which helps gamify the experience, Busuu, which helps with pronunciation and accent, and Drops, which offers five-minute quick studies you can take anywhere.
Wondering how your child can improve their language skills and experience life as a global citizen?