Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Learning Languages For Children & Teenagers ♥

*This is a collaborative post

To children and teenagers who have spent a long day in school, the thought of studying extra when they get home has got to feel like the biggest chore. No matter how much we want to give them everything and every opportunity, we have to appreciate that they too have their limits. Even for some learning that we might think is fun!

According to Language Trainers’ latest blog post, learning languages is a great way to improve communication and compassion, as well as giving a boost to future job opportunities whatever fields our children go into when they grow up. So how can we make learning languages for children seem more like a reward, and less like a punishment?

Something for everyone
How about setting an example by learning a language with your children? You don't necessarily have to study together if that sounds too intense, but if you know enough to hold a conversation why not incorporate that into your day? If you sit down together for dinner as a family why not have that table talk in another language, practicing vocabulary about food and drink as you talk about your days? If you have a family film night why not choose a foreign film with subtitles? There are lots of small ways you can encourage your children to learn a language by getting involved yourself.

Most kids these days are tied to their tablets or laptops in one way or another, and if that time involves game playing why not use it to your advantage? You could compromise by agreeing they can play for an hour if they use a game for language learning like Duolingo or FluentU for another half an hour first. You could change the language of the device they are using or the game they are playing into the target language, so they are exposed to a few new words. What would work best for your children?

Music is one of the best and most flexible ways to learn a language, and is one way to appeal to both children and teenagers alike. Find a song in the target language to practice translation with or even just picking out words you know. Have a radio station in that language playing in the background while your children are doing homework or helping you prepare dinner. Find lyric videos on Youtube so you can turn your front room into a karaoke bar for the evening. Music might be the most fun your children will ever have learning a language.

You remember what studying languages in school was like, right? Repetitive, boring activities and faded textbooks with far more interesting scribbles from former classmates than anything you could learn. You've had the experience of learning a language; share that with your children so they know you understand what they are going through.

Above all, support your children as they learn a language. Recognise when they are just too tired to do any additional studying, and work out a fair schedule that will fit into their day. More importantly ask them how they want to learn a language, and give them incentives for learning. Whether it is in preparation for an upcoming holiday, or an extra treat for doing well in a test, make language learning fun for your kids. And while you're at it make it fun for you!

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