Speaking a second language at home can be frustrating for both you and your child. You work hard trying to practice their second language, but they may always seem to respond in their mother tongue. It can feel daunting to your child at times! Your child may feel frustrated at their inability to express themselves and choose to only speak their first language at home because it is easier.
So how can you help encourage your child at home while feeling comfortable and confident? Here are three tips that can help.
Tip 1: Practice Identifying Household Objects
Playing games like iSpy can be a great way to learn and practice household words. Choose a room in the house and start with easier words. If they forget the word and instead say it in their mother tongue, tell them they got it right but ask them what it is in their second language. If they do not remember, have them hold the object, tell them the name and repeat it with them a few times. If your child does get frustrated, try to keep the game going and keep it light while helping your child continue practicing their words.
Tip 2: Take Charge of Making Speaking a Habit
Just like learning anything, practice is key when learning a new language. Try to make a habit of speaking with your child in their second language every day. You can change how you practice with them by playing games, reading, or even having a conversation. Try to incorporate these ideas into your daily activities to keep it as a routine.
For example: maybe you choose to name ingredients while shopping, play iSpy while driving to school, ask them questions about their day in their second, or maybe read a book in their second language after dinner and talk about what happened in the book. No matter what you choose, try your best to make it a habit. Then, your child will get used to practicing their second language every day!
Tip 3: Displaying at Home
Depending on where you live, your child may have little to no exposure to their second language outside of your home or maybe the classroom. It is important then to place labels, signs, posters, and books around your house. Children learn a lot from their eyes, so placing visual elements around the house can help them get comfortable and help them to practice even when they are not speaking their second language.
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