Move Language Lessons off the ToDo List
By now the question isn’t whether there’s value in teaching your little ones a second language. Study after study not only shows that bilingual and multilingual kids do better socially, academically, and professionally; but that the earlier you start introducing a second language, the more successful your child will be. The question now is the matter of how to get your kids excited about language lessons.
The answer might be simpler than you think. Does teaching your child French or Spanish feel like just another task on a seemingly endless list of things you need to do to successfully prepare your little one for adulthood? Therein may lie the problem.
All too often parents are apprehensive about what they believe will go into second language instruction. From private lessons to homework in a language they might not understand, parents are understandably – especially during these chaotic times – reluctant to embark on another “project.” But, if you’re not excited about the prospect, how can you expect your kids to get excited?
Here’s the good news: teaching your child a second language isn’t nearly as stressful or labor intensive as you might think. Why? The answer lies in the difference between how adults learn versus how young children learn.
As adults, we’re primed with a need to intellectually understand everything we’re learning. To grasp a second language, we require explanations about grammatical structures, variances in vocabulary usages, and cultural etiquette. Our brains have been programmed to need to understand the “why” before tackling the “how.”
Kids learn in a completely different manner. For them, the “how” comes before the “why.” Teaching a young child a second language involves little more than immersing themselves in an emotionally-engaging storyline (in their target language), inviting them to sing and dance, and encouraging them to dive into the world of their target language. The more fun they have, the less self-conscious they are, and the more they learn – without even realizing it. That’s why animated videos, interactive learning games, and sing-alongs work so well with little kids.
By taking language lessons off of kids list of “things mom and dad say I have to do” and making them a fun reward after a day of navigating a big world filled with big feelings, you’re transforming learning from chore-time to playtime.
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