As soon as a child is born, you become full time parents. Have you already been thinking about teaching your children English as a second language?
Do you think they’ll be bilingual by the time they start nursery?
Don't start teaching them vocabulary, verbs, and English grammar just yet. You don't need to rush things. There’s plenty of time to teach them English as their second language.
However, it’s highly recommended that you start learning the English language as soon as possible as it can give them an advantage at school and in their future career. If you're not up to the task, you'll probably have to improve your English language skills with some english lessons first. Don't forget you can also learn English online with online English courses and Skype conversations with a native English speaker.
Learning foreign languages can improve comprehension and cognitive development, not to mention their cultural awareness.
When children learn English from a young age, they tend to master the language. Many of them will end up speaking English better than most native English speakers!
How can you encourage your child to want to learn a language?
How can you make sure they don’t get sick of learning English?
How can you teach children English? Do you need an English teacher?
Teaching English to children requires the use of particular techniques. You need to take an interactive and fun approach to learning languages.
A child aged between 4 and 12 is still learning about social interaction and societal values. This is the best time to get them used to English learning.
That’s because their brain is very malleable at this stage and new words will be completely ingrained into their memory. You can practise phrases, adjectives, tenses, and English pronunciation with them.
There are plenty of resources for parents or teachers to use when they’re teaching their children English.
Here are a few interesting resources you can use to help your child get better at English when they’re at primary school, for example.
See this online English speaking course.
How to Learn English for Kids
It’s important that a child is comfortable when they learn English otherwise they might reject the whole idea altogether.
When teaching your child English, try to keep as far away from the methods they’re using in school. Make sure that it remains fun and interactive.
There are plenty of educational resources that can help your child learn their first words in English.
The child needs to get used to their new language as if it was their own. Just like a guitarist would when it comes to learning a new genre of music.
Where does the fun come into it? If learning English becomes a bore, the child will lose interest and they won’t learn as quickly.
When they first start learning English, the parent or teacher can teach them songs or play games with them, for example. This is very easy nowadays where digital devices are commonplace.
Learn English with Music and Singing
Music and singing can put you in a good mood. This helps you learn a language quicker. Learning a foreign language with music can make the whole experience very enjoyable.
Songs and lullabies are very effective and don't forget that there are plenty of free English resources online.
Even as adults we still learn the songs we learnt as children. Take the alphabet song, for example. You remember how it goes, right? A, B, C... etc.
A child could very easily learn the alphabet in English by singing the song.
It’s also possible to find English versions of common lullabies from other languages such as Frère Jacques, for example.
Don’t forget that English-language music has been dominating the world since the second half of the 20th century. There are plenty of English rock, pop, and blues songs that your child might really enjoy singing along to.
Since globalisation is also helping spread even more English around the world, your child will probably grow up hearing songs in English and copying their favourite English-speaking pop stars.
While they won’t understand the lyrics straight away, they will get used to hearing English which will help them further down the line once they start writing or speaking in English.
You can also have fun with learning English this way.
Learning English in music workshops is very popular. It’s original, simple, and fun, and, above all, kids love it!
Learn English by Playing
Playing is the quickest way to learn a language since having fun makes the whole learning process not seem like work at all!
Thanks to the Internet, everyone can become “fluent” just by playing a few games.
Children nowadays don’t know how good they’ve got it.
There are so many digital resources available for those wanting to learn a language and the Internet brings them directly to us with a simple click of the mouse. There are games where children can learn to count up to 100 and beyond in English.
A quick search will bring you thousands of results for different games you can play with your child to help them learn English. You can download worksheets, work on their pronunciation, and do English-language crosswords, for example.
Make English Learning Fun
Have a look for events in your community where parents and their children get together to learn English. Workshops often blend learning English with other activities like music or art.
These are great ways for your children to learn English without even realising that they’re studying.
English lessons over Skype
Whether with a pen pal or a private tutor, Skype is a great way to get your child studying and practising English.
There are thousands of great native speakers who offer private tutorials to children (and adults) over Skype.
When it comes to younger children, you can always set up a virtual “play date” with an English speaking friend. They can play games on-line and talk to each other.
Most very young children don’t tend to care whether their friends speak the same language as them or not, after all.
Effective Methods for English Lessons for Kids
Once you start learning a foreign language, you should make sure that you’re doing so effectively.
It might sound obvious. However, there are so many resources for learning English that choosing the right one might be difficult.
Here are a few of the methods that work:
You can send your children to a private English academy where they’ll learn English with other children their age. The approach is normally different to school and they can spend time singing, dancing, and playing, all while learning.
Little Pim provides videos for children up to 6 to learn English. Why only up to 6?
This is because Little Pim wants to teach children English at the optimal age when their brain is geared towards language learning.
It’s an interesting concept that gets a child used to hearing English even though they can’t read, write, or count yet. This is English teaching that focuses on listening skills.
If you want your child to be bilingual in English, you’ll have to start them on their way as soon as possible!
There you go. They’ll be speaking English before they even learn to read. Before you know it, they’ll be wanting to study abroad.
Travel to an English-speaking Country
Heading to an English-speaking country is usually the quickest and most effective way to learn the language. The countries that encourage study abroad programmes tend to have better abilities when it comes to speaking English.
The English you learn in secondary schools isn’t normally enough to speak like they do in London or New York. If you want to practise your spoken English and listening skills, it's a good idea to do so with another native English speaker. It just so happens that London and New York are full of native English speakers!
Your child will learn so much on an English course if they’re also immersed in an English-speaking culture and living with an English-speaking host family.
How does that sound?
There are plenty of different organisations offering exchange programmes.
Your child will have the unique opportunity to spend time in English-speaking countries like the UK, the US, Canada, etc. After spending every day speaking to native speakers, your child might come back home speaking English like a native!
It’s recommended that you don’t send younger children to the other side of the globe. The UK is still one of the most popular destinations for Europeans when it comes to language exchange programmes.
Older students can travel further afield to places like New Zealand or Australia. There are so many wonderful places around the world where they speak English that they could go to!
If you’d like to learn about teaching dyslexic children English, read our article on the subject!