Children and Foreign Languages: an Investment Worth Every Penny

As a teacher living in Wales, I have to teach Welsh as a second language at primary level. It's a challenge (especially when languages are not your forte!), however it is amazing to see children's confidence develop whilst learning these new skills, developing cultural interest and pride, and embedding their place as global citizens.Knowing additional languages in today’s world is very important, especially given that our children are growing up in a highly globalised environment. It may be costly, but overall there are many options you can resort to for language learning.

Resources and ways you can help your child get ahead in language learning

Traditional language resources:
  • Courses:

    There are traditional language courses available that your child can participate in both online as well as in person. This is a great option if you have the financial ability to sign your children up for an in-person course, where they can meet other kids learning the language and have fun with it while advancing their skills significantly.

  • Language learning apps, such as Babbel:

    Language learning apps are an effective way to incorporate language learning into daily life, anywhere anytime. Also, it is one of the best ways to learn a language because it is very interactive and it makes learning fun for children, (making them more inclined to complete lessons). There are many apps to choose from, one of the best known ones is Babbel where you can learn German online, along with 13 other languages including Danish, Italian, Russian and French.

Free at-home language learning resources
  • YouTube:

    YouTube is a wonderful free resource to use for language learning. You can find language tutorial videos created by native speakers, as well as channels of (native) content creators that produce YouTube videos your child would be interested in.

  • Movies:

    A movie is an easy way to have background noise going or to have a focused lesson for your child that doesn’t seem like a lesson. Have your child’s favorite movies available in the language being learned for them to be extra excited about language lessons.

  • Music:

    Music has a way of sticking with you, leading many people to remember childhood nursery songs or educational songs they learn in school. So put on a couple songs of the language your child is learning and have fun learning the lyrics of some catchy tunes.

  • Games:

    When children are having fun, they are more likely to remember what they remember. Flash cards have their place, but games that they enjoy playing and the helpful phrases that are incorporated into games as well as a natural part of them are more likely to stick with kids and be used in daily life. Consider the games that your kids currently loveand find versions of them in the language your child is learning.

Why it’s important to learn a foreign language (or multiple!)

There are numerous benefits of learning a foreign language, and your child will be thankful for the added skill for years to come. There are benefits they will reap in the future once they enter the working world, and benefits that they will enjoy starting from the beginning of their language lessons.

Benefits for their future include: a foot in the door with an industry or company based in an abroad location or one that has a global team, greater insight and understanding for interacting with other cultures, and general career advancement. We live in a globalised world, and the ability to communicate with or at the very least have greater patience to learn how to communicate with someone from another culture is important. In both personal life and work life, this is a wonderful skill to have.

Other advantages of learning a foreign language include benefits on the brain. For example, learning a foreign language heightens creativity, improved memory, better decision-making skills, improved cognitive abilities, greater ability to multitask, and more.

 

When should I start?

A common question many have for when to start the foreign language learning process with their kids is, ‘When should I start?’

It is honestly never too early to start exposing your children to a second language. In fact, the sooner you start the better. Kids are already learning so many new things at a rapid pace, that adding in another language will almost be ‘just another thing’. You actually greatly benefit your child from starting early. That being said, it is never too late!

Supporting your children in a foreign language is an investment worth every penny, and one that your kids will experience the benefits from for years to come. Are your children enrolled in some sort of language learning program or engage in language learning activities aside from the ones offered in school?

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Comments

  1. says

    Multi languages can very useful for their career in future. If a person know more than 3 languages this will help more than any other thing. Superb reading for mom.

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