To young children the world can seem relatively small, so exposing them to new cultures and languages is a great way to begin to broaden their horizons!
But should we teach our children a second language at an early age and if so how early is too early?
Research shows that learning a second language early in life is easier and can enhance brain and literacy development and of course encourage an appreciation for other cultures and countries.
Studies also show that bilingual children have improved problem solving skills and creativity and benefit from a wider range of career opportunities in adulthood.
However, if as a parent, you have little or no experience of speaking or using another language, it can be quite daunting knowing where to start. With that in mind, here are a few ways that you can make it a bit easier to introduce your child to a second language…….
Read a book- Visit your local library or book store to find a selection of children’s books in the language you are learning. Ones that have a lot of visual aids, pictures or accompanying CD’s are a great place to start!
Visit a restaurant- Try going for dinner at a restaurant linked to the language you are learning. Talk to the team, soak up the atmosphere and music and translate parts of the menu with the children.
Experts- Seek out opportunities for your child to interact with children, families or individuals that speak the language fluently, after all practice makes perfect. Some parents even choose to have lessons with a tutor who speaks the language confidently and is an expert at teaching children foreign languages and specialises in making learning languages fun and engaging to really spark their interest.
Learn key phases- Support your child by learning some key words and phases that can be used day to day to keep their learning alive around the home.
So, in summary, yes, if you would like your child to master a second language it’s a good idea to start early and the earlier the better!