Top Tips for Helping Your Child Learn A New Language | AD

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The National Curriculum in the UK states that children should be taught a modern foreign language between the ages of 7 to 14. That means that at some point during your child’s academic journey, they will start to learn a new language, usually Spanish, French, Italian or German. Sometimes, they may be taught a combination of more than one language. All parents want their children to succeed across each of their school subjects and their ability to speak a second or even third language shouldn’t be overlooked; it can actually be really great for their future career. With that said, you’re probably wondering how you can help your child perform well in their language lessons, despite the fact that you may not be able to speak the language yourself. I have teamed up with a girls’ prep school in Kingston Upon Thames to offer parents some advice on how they can help.

First of all, it’s important to note that you don’t have to be good at any particular subject yourself in order to help your child excel in it. Simply providing a supportive and optimistic environment for your child to grow up in will help them with their confidence and overall approach to their education. When it comes to learning a new language, perhaps encourage your child to stick labels around your home on the everyday items so that your child can learn some basic vocabulary. Of course, this may look unsightly, but it will demonstrate to your child how keen you are for them to succeed and how much you support them, which will make them all the more determined. When your child becomes more proficient, they will be able to use the new vocabulary in their sentences.

Another great way to learn vocabulary and even some sentences and common phrases is to use cue cards, with the English translation on the other side. You can hold the cue cards up in front of your child, showing only the English side, and ask them to read out the foreign alternative. Let them know if they were correct. This is something they could do quite easily alone but having a “study buddy” will make the experience feel less tedious.  If you are not available to carry out this activity, perhaps allow them to invite a friend over to help.

You could also sit and watch a foreign film together (with English subtitles to begin with to help you understand what’s going on) or play foreign music during car journeys. What’s more, there are lots of resources online or even downloadable apps that your child can use to help them with their learning. If your child is struggling with their language skills, you could consider hiring a private tutor or perhaps looking into some local evening or weekend classes. If this seems like an extreme option, perhaps start by contacting your child’s teacher to find out if there are any lunch clubs or other extra-curricular sessions that can help your child with their learning.


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