Speaking multiple languages in an increasingly globalized world provides an incredible advantage for students, children and adults working, studying or travelling abroad. For this reason, many parents are eager to develop a fluency of at least one other language in their child. Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can raise your child to be fluent in multiple languages.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Scholars Education Centre.
Set Milestone Goals With Your Child
Like any important task, it’s crucial to set goals that you’d like to achieve by a certain time. This not only helps you gauge the success of your efforts, but it also helps you to keep track of the progress on your child’s language development. If you’re the one teaching your child the second language, create a timeline: at the end of each month, six months, one year, etc. Monitor your child’s progress between dates and modify the goals accordingly. It’s important to remember that each child will learn at a different pace.
Incorporate The Second Language Into Your Daily Life
It may not be enough to set aside one or two hours a day sitting at the dining room table. It might be far more effective to incorporate the second language into your child’s daily life. This is perhaps best achieved by assigning someone in the household to be the one to speak to your child in the given language. This person should be able to commit to being the one to teach the child on a daily basis. Alternately, if the rest of the family is fluent in the second language, you can decide on an immersion technique, but this requires multiple individuals to agree to speak to the child in the second language during a specified time.
In our home we’re lucky to have a grandparent who’s fluent in French and can chat with our French Immersion children.
Treat Bilingualism As An Investment
Many parents are enrolling their children into after-school programs and French tutoring in the hopes that these will give them an advantage in school or in their careers. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, any additional skills your child can bring to the table will give them a competitive edge over other prospective candidates. In short, bilingualism, or even multilingualism, could very well open doors for your child that might otherwise remain closed.
Take Advantage Of Smartphone Apps
If you’re finding it difficult to get your child to unplug from their devices, you might try embracing it. There are many apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablet that will help your child learn a second language. Some apps are free and make learning fun using a game-like approach. These types of tools do tend to require reading, but also incorporate visual and auditory cues. Remember that as useful as these apps might be, they should be regarded as a supplement to your child’s learning of another language.
Correct When Necessary and Be Patient
Learning a second language isn’t necessarily an easy feat, even for children who tend to pick up new skills relatively quickly. Teaching your child a second language should be approached like any other parenting task: it may be difficult at times, and you may second guess yourself often, but ultimately, the effort will be worth it. There’s no doubt that raising your kids to be bilingual will come with a unique set of challenges. However, pursuing this endeavor is something that your child will thank you for one day, most likely in their second language.