Top tips for teaching your child a new language


Learning a new language can be difficult for children and adults alike, but it’s worth persevering due to the many opportunities it opens up. It’s also becoming increasingly important to speak more than one language in a global world where people from all cultures and nationalities frequently interact. You might also have mixed heritage and want your child to learn a second language to tap into their roots and make it easier for them to communicate with family members. Whatever your reason for wanting your child to learn a new language, here are some tips from an independent school in Somerset on how to help them get to grips with it. 

 Start as early as possible

The earlier your child starts learning a new language, the easier they’ll find it to absorb and retain the information.

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Young children are like sponges; their brains are malleable and designed to learn new information rapidly and unconsciously. Another benefit of learning a language from an early age is that children have more time to actually spend learning, and they also think more simply which works in their favour when it comes to language learning. Young children are also naturally less inhibited than adults, which can be an advantage when learning new information. 

Expose them to the language frequently

The more your child hears a new language spoken, the more they’ll absorb unfamiliar words and phrases unconsciously without realising they’re learning. If you’re bilingual and want your child to pick up a second language, make sure you speak it as much as possible at home and talk directly to them in the language. You could also encourage your child to watch films or TV programmes and read books in the language so hearing it becomes normal. They’ll naturally absorb the intonations and different uses of the words and phrases. You might also be able to find apps or computer games which help teach your child another language, and if you have family members who speak the language make sure your child spends time around them regularly. 

 Consider formal tuition

 If you want your child to learn a new language quickly, perhaps if you’re going on holiday soon and want them to be able to converse with the locals or family members who live in another country, have a think about getting them some tuition. Some children might find the structured nature of language lessons more suited to them, and if the tutor is a native speaker this will also help. You can practise what your child learns in their lessons together at home and bring the language to life through playing games or having conversations using it. 

 Make it fun

 The best way to teach your child a second language is to make sure they have fun while they’re learning, for example, you can design games for them to play which help them learn vocabulary. If you’re teaching your child more formally, try not to take it too seriously or put pressure on them, and encourage them to have as much fun as possible. 

Practise regularly

Encourage your child to practise the new language as much as possible – making it a daily habit, even if only for 5 minutes, is the best way to normalise the process of learning a second language. This could include reading a short book before bed or listening to some songs to help them wind down at the end of the day. Interspersing sporadic practise with more formal lessons is the best course of action.  

The most important thing to remember when helping your child learn a new language is to make the process as fun as possible and give them as many opportunities as you can to practise in both formal and informal settings. 

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