Learning a second language is as easy as learning the ABC when you are a kid. Like a sponge, a child’s brain can easily pick up any language especially when they are truly immersed in the culture. In this modern age, learning a new language is a good skill especially if you want your child to be well rounded in the future. According to some research, people who speak different tongues are more creative thinkers when compared to those who only speak their own native language.
There are many things to consider before enrolling or homeschooling your child in a foreign language. Here is a list of things that you may need to know before joining the bilingual bandwagon.
Age. The most common question is — how early can a child learn a new language? There are many studies that may answer this question. Others claim that the earlier you start a child’s education, the easier they learn about the culture, accent and vocabulary of the new language. Lessons could start as early as 2 to 3 years old. Just by letting your child hear foreign songs, watch foreign language shows or talk to them in other language, will give him/her needed tools to appreciate and learn it. The child’s ability to pick up different sounds and phonetic pronunciations is at its peak at the age of 3, according to a study by Francois Thibaut, a New York based director of the Language Workshop for Children.
While another research shows that learning a new language together with your native language will just hamper your child’s progress early adolescent years. Ages 11 to 13 are the best years to jumpstart their foreign language lessons. This is the time when a child can focus on learning without reducing the time to learn other things. So that’s the two age brackets that you need to consider before making the decision. As a parent you will know what age is best your child and whatever you choose — make sure that they can continue the learning even at home.
New Language. Choosing a new language can be quite confusing for parents, since there are a lot of languages to choose from, and all seems very interesting to learn. In the US, Spanish is always the obvious choice of parents and Latin is the second. Others prefer languages that are not common like Swedish or Hebrew. But whatever language you choose for your child, there are factors that you need to consider.
Choose a language that you are comfortable with. Immersion is the best teacher and the more you converse it with your child the more he/she can learn. Swot about the origin of the language and its culture because your child will surely give their full attention. The television can be useful tool in learning other language, and make sure to utilize illustrated language books and other materials to widen their vocabulary. Teach them one-word at a time to have better results, information overload will not help. Make sure to set a reasonable expectation because pressuring your child can do more harm than helping them.