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How to Teach Your Child a Second Language

by Nessa Shera

It’s something I wish my parents did for me, and definitely what I would do for my future children. A second language being an international language, whether it’s French or Chinese. While you can wait for your child to learn it in school with the rest of their peers at no extra cost on your part, it’s more effective when teaching children of a more tender age. During this time they tend to grasp language faster, meaning you don’t particularly need to enroll them in any classes per se. So how would you go by it exactly?

Start immediately; around the age of two to three should be fine. It’s during this time that children are increasing their vocabularies at an immense rate, as well as picking up on different sounds. The sooner you start teaching them, the faster and easier they’ll start picking up on the language. Meaning that they can absorb a language by getting exposed to the sounds, for example hearing someone speak it, or listening to a song or video in another language. This should allow them to appreciate the language, and gauge a firm understanding, which would provide a strong platform for them to get into the details later on.

Create a Learning Environment; while listening to videos and audio can help your child, dialogue with others is more effective. Either your child attends a class among others learning the language so s/he can slowly engage in conversation, or if you have a neighbor or friend who fluently speaks the language your instilling in your child, allow them to communicate occasionally.

Compare Words; For example, while narrating to your child the word ‘book’ in English-if you would also like him/her to speak French-point back at the book saying ‘livre’. This would slowly grow into understanding the two languages separately overtime.

Patience; While your child processes languages at a faster rate during this period of their lives, expecting to have to on conversations with them in a matter of a couple months is pretty farfetched. They may probably register what you are telling them after a short span of time, but you may need to wait a while before you can effortlessly communicate with them.

Teaching your child a second language in particular one that is international, may open him/her to various opportunities in future as compared to his/her peers. If you have a toddler, try teach them a second language while they’re still relatively young.

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