21% of U.S. children speak a second language at home, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Parents teaching their children a second language are becoming more frequent in the United States. If you are bilingual, you can choose scenarios or days of the week to speak to your child in your second language. If you are not bilingual, you can also learn a foreign language along with your child. Would you like your child to enjoy the benefits of being bilingual? If so, you need the following ingredients: constancy, commitment and patience.
From my experience, I have learned that teaching your own children a second language is taking on a new role without forgetting to be a mom. It is a process of correcting language errors with love. Every time my children do well, I praise their efforts. For example, I customize pinback buttons when they overcome a challenge. They feel motivated; they collect the buttons with each milestone and feel proud like boy and girl scouts do.
If this idea sounds good to you, check out these custom buttons from 4over4.com. Custom printing is a fun and cost-effective way to reward your children. If you want to teach your children a second language at home, take a look at these three great tips:
#1. Keep Calm and Make a Plan
There are some people who try not to make plans. If you are one of those, you may need to change your mindset. You definitely need a plan. Start by asking yourself: how much time can I spend with my child daily? How am I going to motivate my child? What I am trying to achieve? Once you have clear answers for those questions you can develop your own strategy. Start by staying organized with a calendar. Use dry erase vinyl calendar to easily keep track of milestones and specific activities. You can personalize your calendar with pictures, inspirational quotes or goals (click here to take a look at personalized -and affordable- dry erase boards, if you’re interested in ordering your own).
#2. Expose Your Kids to The Target Culture
It is not just teaching how to string a sentence together. Your kids need to understand the reasons why they are learning a foreign language. Do you want to teach your child your native language? Do want them to have better opportunities in life? Whatever the reason, explain to your children why they are learning a second language. Get them in touch with other bilingual children, they will feel accompanied.
Immerse them as best as you can in that target culture, if possible take your children to visit the countries where the language is spoken, or have a typical breakfast and involve them in the process, watch movies in that language and if possible take them out to eat at places were natives run the shop -most of the time they’ll be happy to talk to the child and be very supportive.
#3. Enjoy The Process and Make it Fun
Don’t make your children feel like they are having extra homework! The process cannot look or feel like punishment in order to be successful! Make language-learning fun by playing games and associating it with positive experiences. Even though you need to correct them every time they make a mistake, search for strategies to make the process enjoyable. Keep your children motivated and avoid making it too tedious.
Are you aware of the hundreds of benefits and perks of bilingualism? Bilingual children are, in fact, smarter than other children (as shared by the Huffington post), have better working memory and the key to open many doors in the future. Don’t over think it! Follow the helpful tips mentioned above to embark on a successful process.
Here’s to your multilingual children and the future that awaits them!