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How do I encourage my child to want to learn a second language?

By: Sahail Ashraf
Business Owner
Torquay, United Kingdom
Guest Contributor to Chatterfun

There’s not much in a young person’s life that is overly difficult. In fact, things are usually great fun, even if they are challenging. The same is true of second language learning. However, even though children often take to learning a second language with enthusiasm and confidence, many parents feel a little lost when it comes to knowing how to start. This has a lot to do with the fact that children learn languages quicker than adults do, mainly because they are not as scared of failure. However, with a little effort, and the right mindset, you can quite easily help your child to learn a second language. And the payoffs for the child are quite incredible.

You need to get them to want to learn a second language, and that is all about them enjoying the process. What follows are just a few pointers that should get things going well.

Use television

That’s right; believe it or not, television is one of the very best ways to bring a second language into a child’s life, in moderation of course. Think of your child’s favorite TV show and there is a very good chance you can purchase a DVD of that show, and then switch the language option to the one that you are trying to have your child assimilate.

Do this on a regular basis, even just in the background, and you will be amazed what your child will pick up in just a few short weeks. It isn’t a teaching tool in itself, but it is absolutely a good thing to use as part of your efforts to help your child enjoy that second language.

Games

Investigate games, like card games or board games, which help to teach that second language. Getting your child to enjoy learning that second language is the key, and every child enjoys games. Visit any respectable toy store (preferably one with a slant towards learning) and you should find card and board games that are created to help children learn a second language. They’re fun, and they work.

Playgroups

One technique that is really taking off is a playgroup for children who are learning a second language. You can obviously start your own, but there should be some in your area that you can find quite easily. Hanging out with other kids that are learning a second language will make things a lot easier, as friendships grow and social games develop.

Imagination

One final thing you can do is tap into your child’s innate love of imaginative play. They love making things up, dressing up and so on. If you inject some language elements into these games (like having a fairytale with a character that only speaks in that second language) you will find yourself seamlessly boosting language skills while bringing that extra bit of magic to a child’s development.

Enjoy the process

These are just a few ways in which you can actively help your child enjoy learning that second language. Try them out and see what fits your parenting or teaching style best. Then enjoy the process. The child has the innate ability to learn a second language, and pairing that with a sense of fun means you can only be on to a winner.