How to Teach Your Kids to Love Languages

>> Mar 7, 2019



Our understanding and interpretation of the world around us is shaped by language. In a society that is increasingly global, the benefits of learning more than one language are numerous. This is especially true for children, who can reap the distinct advantages of being bilingual. Increased creativity and problem-solving skills, improved memory and concentration, and better critical thinking skills are all enhanced when kids learn more than one language.

Academic performance seems to be affected as well. Bilingual kids show higher scores on standardized testing, as well as improvement in math, reading, and writing. As they grow into adulthood, being able to communicate in more than one language can give them a boost at succeeding in other areas of their lives. You can visit the Tomedes translation blog to read more articles on the advantages of bilingualism and its impact.
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Language learning can expand your children’s educational and social opportunities as well. And while it's a little early to think about a future occupation, it can positively influence their career path as well. As a bilingual or multilingual citizen, they will be a natural fit for professional work in the translation, language services, and global e-commerce industries–to name a few.

Why It’s Best to Learn New Languages at a Young Age

Young children are ideally suited for learning new languages. They’re naturally curious about the world around them and haven’t yet developed self-consciousness about how they speak. They can mimic sounds, make up their own silly words, and learn through trial and error without feeling embarrassed. Young children aren’t fearful of making a mistake or getting a bad test grade. Incorporating a new language into their lives can be fun for both of you.

Using Translation in Music for Very Young Children

Many of us learned our ABC by singing a simple song, one that probably still plays in your head at the mention of it. Memory and music are intrinsically tied together. Children can learn to sing even before they learn to speak, so using translated lyrics to teach your child another language makes absolute sense.

The melodies of popular children’s songs are often the same in multiple languages, with only the translation differing. “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” are just two examples of popular children's songs that are found in other cultures. Because your child is likely to be familiar with these tunes already, learning the words in the target language will be easier. Just hearing them repeated will be advantageous.

Short nursery rhymes and poems can also be adapted in this way. If your child knows all the words to “Goodnight Moon” by heart, reading them the same book in the target translation makes for a great bedtime routine. They will be able to identify the scenes of each picture with the new sounds they hear you speak and the new words they see on the page.
  
Bilingual Flashcard Games for Older Children

If your child has grown past the stage of nursery rhymes and songs, playing games and activities with a little bit more excitement might be in order. While many people equate flashcards with long and tedious multiplication tables, today's colourful flashcards are designed to be stimulating and fast-paced. A quick Google search for “translation flashcard games” will result in pages of all kinds of creative ideas like:

Bean Bag Toss: Place the flashcards facing down on the floor. Have your child toss a beanbag to see which card it lands on. Turn the card over and say the word to rack up points.

Swatting Game: Spread all the cards face-up on the table. Give your child a flyswatter. You say the word, and the child identifies and swats the corresponding picture or translation as quickly as possible. This game is a great one if you are teaching more than one child.

Fishing game: Attach a paperclip to a few flashcards and put it in a box or pail decorated like a pond. Using a “fishing pole” made of a stick, string, and magnet, have your child “go fishing” for a card. When they catch one, they have to say and translate the word. If they can’t, it goes back in the pond. The game is over when all the “fish” have been caught and translated correctly.

Treasure Hunts with Translated Clues

Kids of all ages love treasure hunts. The great thing about them is that you can adapt them to any environment or situation. You can perform them on road trips in the form of a “spot the object” game, or elaborately plan clues that need translation in order to lead to the treasure.

For smaller children, you can use color flashcards to find five objects or toys that match the color on the card, translating each object into the target language as they locate them. You can adapt the same concept for shapes, or letters of the alphabet. Using a timer with a buzzer or chime makes the game even more exciting.

For older kids, a grocery store scavenger hunt can be educational and practical as well. Give them a basket and a shopping list and have them locate different foods in the store. If they decipher evert translation correctly, allow them to choose a favorite snack (provided they can say it in the target language, of course!).

An outdoor treasure hunt to a park or playground can identify different trees, plants, and a whole host of other objects. This is a fun way of getting some air and outdoor exercise while working on your child’s translation skills. With a little imagination, you can adapt virtually any type of treasure hunt to make it into a language learning experience.

Have Patience and Keep It Casual

Kids tend to pick up languages faster than adults but, like anyone, will shut down when they feel forced or pressured. Remember to keep the learning environment fresh and exciting and incorporate translation into your everyday life without overdoing it.

A bilingual or multilingual citizen enjoys the advantages of an expanded approach to the world. It’s never too early to give your child a great foundation in foreign language learning to start broadening their horizons.

Author Bio
Louise Taylor is the head of content for Tomedes translation agency, which offers language and content writing services around the world. She has loved foreign languages since beginning to learn her first one as a young child.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a home maker, a stay at home wife. I'm just an ordinary woman who has interest in reading, working at home and learning to write. We live in Bogor, Indonesia.
This blog contains articles in family topic.
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