We all know that a kid’s mind is like a sponge! That is why many parents avoid using certain swear words in front of their offspring. The young life is indeed the best stage when we are keenest in absorbing everything that surrounds us! That makes it the perfect chance to help your children learn different languages, which in a fast-growing, international world can only be helpful and will increase their brain capacity. So what to do? Here is a brief guide:
Choose the language:
You don’t have to be restricted to 1 external language, you can also try to implement a further 2 other languages alongside their mother tongue. If your child is too young to pick a language on his/her own, it would be advisable to choose a language that is related to the family history (ancient origins or interests), or that is pretty interesting for culture and tradition, because the child will have to be attracted to a language before showing any interest in learning anything. A further help would be to choose a language with the same alphabet, this will help the development of words and association between the two languages; but at the same time, languages that are too similar to one another could confuse the child and cause overlaps in knowledge.
When is the best time to start?:
The sooner the better! Do not be concerned if your child cannot yet read, as he/she will register the differences! The reality is that if you actually talk with a baby it will be more effective than with a 8 year old – that is why many kids invent their own languages! Also, the memory of a nice vacation will help the child to learn the language, so if you can go travelling this will encourage them, it will also be a useful occasion to teach simple words like: hello, good morning, good night and simple food related words.
Audio & Visual aid:
As the main point of importance is to capture the complete attention of the child it would be advisable to select shows, cartoons and games that you know your child enjoys and provide them in the new language. Even a cartoon played in the background could be beneficial. Although these methods are applicable at any age, if the child is already going to school, make sure that you do not provide this type of support before any mother tongue language exam, as it can create confusion. Always make sure you provide enough rest time while teaching the languages.
The magic word is: Fun
The whole point is to have a good time, so please do not bother your child as if he/she is at school. Be persistent with the languages and material provided but always make it interesting. Never suffocate your child by practicing more than necessary, your child might not be interested at that moment, may lose interest or may not be adept at learning languages, so just make sure that everyone is having a good time! Various activities can facilitate the growth of interest and the creation of fun; celebrate the Italian or the Brazilian carnival for example, have fun with creative folkloristic costumes or playing games; get involved in original activities or famous traditions that are from the language’s origin country. Always fight to make your child interested because when you have fun and are truly enchanted by what you’re doing, that is the real moment, at any age, when we learn positively.