It’s important for parents to try and aid their child’s development across all school subjects, not just English, maths and science. All subjects provide children with various benefits that provide them with the necessary schools to succeed in the future, so it’s worth trying to find ways to help them with the curriculum as a whole. Learning a second language, for instance, can help youngsters with their cultural awareness and open up a range of travel and social opportunities when they get older. I have teamed up with an independent school in London to share some advice on how you can help your child learn a second language. It’s not without its challenges, but as with most things, practise makes perfect.
If you are already fluent in the language your child is trying to learn, you’re in a great position to help them. However, you don’t necessarily have to be able to speak a certain language in order to help your child learn it. Sometimes just having someone near to practise with can help your child feel more motivated and ‘in the zone’. Alternatively, if they can hear the rest of the family having fun in the next room, they won’t be able to get into the right frame of mind.
Help your child write lots of labels that you can stick all over the house, like on their mirror or on the fridge door. Constant exposure to these words will help your child with their vocabulary and eventually they will be able to include these words in sentences and conversations. Encourage them to read the word aloud when they see it, to help them remember it.
You could also hold up flash cards for them, so that they can see the foreign word and you can see the English translation on the back. Ask them to read the word aloud and then tell you what they think it means in English. Once they have mastered all of the words, you can prepare some more. If you are not available to help your child with these types of activities, encourage them to invite a study buddy round so that they can practise together. This will make the experience more enjoyable, and your child will be more motivated to learn.
Use the Media
Most parents are trying to find ways to get their children to take a break for their digital devices, but sometimes technology can be used in a positive way. There are lots of games and apps they can download onto their phones or tablets that allow them to practise their language in an entertaining manner.
You could also watch some foreign movies together, with English subtitles, to help your child become more familiar with the language being spoken in everyday language. Eventually, they will be able to understand the movies without subtitles, which will be a strong indicator that they are progressing well.
They could also listen to foreign music and write down any words they hear in the song that they don’t understand so that they can look it up later. If you have a long car journey coming up, you could download a playlist of foreign songs.
Have a Positive Approach
When it comes to your child’s learning, no matter what subject they’re studying, it’s important that they approach it with a positive outlook. You can help by adopting an optimistic attitude yourself. Praise your child when you see them working hard and let them know how proud you are. This positive reinforcement will go a long way in encouraging them to continue trying their best.