Many people learn second languages, but not all begin their education as young as two years old. If you see the value in kids developing bilingual skills but aren’t sure how to begin teaching your kids, don’t worry. This guide will introduce you to three great ways to teach children a second language at home.
Even if your child is too young to be in school, they’re not too young for you to begin introducing a second language. The sooner you begin teaching a second language, the sooner your child can develop fluency. Sure, anyone can learn Spanish whenever they want, from teens to seniors. However, speaking more than one language at an early age provides children with social and professional opportunities. For example, if a student learns English and Spanish, they can forge friendships with students who speak both languages.
Likewise, bilingual skills can put kids ahead of their competition when breaking into the workforce. If you begin teaching your kids two languages from infancy, they can become fluent by the time they begin looking for a job. Speaking more than one language opens up dozens of fascinating and engaging career opportunities.
Through each step of the lessons, keep repetition in mind. Don’t move too fast through topics; spend enough time on key phrases and concepts to ensure your kids are really retaining the information. For example, teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling (TPRS) involves introducing kids to one or several phrases. Over the course of a TPRS lesson, students will hear phrases or keywords multiple times through activities such as storytelling and reading. In doing so, students can build a familiarity with the new words they’re learning.
Consider researching some effective methods for implementing TPRS in the classroom. Although TPRS is primarily an in-class teaching tool, homeschooling parents can still use it at home with one or several kids. This activity requires minimal space and ample imagination, making it perfect for almost any learning environment.
When thinking about great ways to teach children a second language at home, always keep entertainment in mind. When kids are having fun learning, they’re more likely to engage with what you’re teaching them. Flashcards and workbooks are great teaching tools—but making students bored can stifle their ability to learn and retain new information. Fun ways to teach second languages to kids include playing vocab bingo, reading bilingual children’s books, and listening to authentic music relevant to the target language.