Speaking more than one (native) language can easily offer new opportunities in life. You can get a business offer because of that and move to another country. Also, you will have a better understanding of other cultures. However, many people are still not aware that their kids are easily able to learn a second language at an early age. Therefore, let’s see what’s the best time for a kid to start learning, and what can you do as a parent to help them.
How early should kids start learning a second language?
Even though there are different opinions on this matter, it is the most common theory that kids should start learning an additional language at an early age. The perfect time should be when they are three or four years old. Don’t even try to make them learn another language before that since it can cause some serious confusion and overstimulation. When they are still babies, they are trying to learn and to understand their surroundings and different information that is coming from the outside world. Therefore, don’t force them to learn even more – they won’t be able to do that. Also, they have to learn to speak their primary language well before they start learning the second one. Hence, it is vital to give them enough space to acquire one language before the second one fully. Otherwise, they can quickly get confused without being able to talk adequately. Let them learn their native language, and then start learning second at the age of three or four. If you follow this process correctly, your kids will be able to learn even more languages once they get older.
How can they learn?
Bilingual families have a massive advantage here. The kids will grow in an environment where parents speak two languages fluently. The best way for a kid to learn is the method “one person, one language”. In other words, one parent should communicate with the child in one language and another parent in the second language. Again, be cautious not to overwhelm your kid with much information at the same time. Parents should start speaking separate languages once the child is three years old, as we mentioned. On the other hand, when parents speak only one language, the best solution is to check out appropriate language schools such as Mogi or hire a personal teacher. It is essential to find a creative study program with the very best teachers. They have to know how to approach working with kids, how to communicate with them, to choose the best method and working tempo, and to find the right time for each language segment. As a parent, you have to do thorough research and find the best option for your kid in the city you live in. Read reviews about schools and teachers, and also contact people you know and ask them about their experience with teachers.
What can you, as a parent, do to help?
Besides finding the right school and a teacher, there are many other things you can do to help your kid learn a new language. Even if you don’t speak that language, you can motivate them and keep them interested. First of all, don’t be lazy – try to learn together with your kids. They will love to see that you are in the same spot as they are; it will make the whole learning process more exciting for them. Also, find appropriate TV shows on that language, and watch it with them. Search the internet as well, especially YouTube. Everything is on YouTube nowadays, from cartoons to songs. Spend some time researching, find suitable videos, and again, watch them together with them and communicate. However, don’t push them too hard; it is not the only thing they should be learning. It doesn’t even have to be every day. Three to four days during the week is more than enough.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t push your kids to learn. Just provide them with that option and see how they are going to react. If they love it, then it’s great. But, if they feel overwhelmed, in that case, it is better to wait for them to grow up a bit.