The Lazy Parents' Guide to Teaching a Second Language

teaching language

Teaching a language to your kid (or yourself) comes with its fair share of challenges. But when it comes to absorbing a new language, it turns out the easy route is the best one! That’s because learning a second tongue requires habit. And you usually won’t make something a habit unless you’re motivated— and having fun! Here are some tips for lazy (read: smart) parents who want to teach their kids a new language.

Use it or lose it

It’s been said before, but that’s because it’s true. Your brain won’t fully grasp a new language unless you practice regularly. That can only be done if you or your kid is having fun and is fully engaged. Make learning a new language a priority, and develop a daily practice so that the words will stick in your child’s memory. Slip new words into you and your child’s routine: talk about the colors you see when you go on a walk, or translate the names of food when you eat dinner together. 

Make it fun

The days of learning only by boring flashcards are in the past. There are numerous ways to introduce a second language or culture to your child. Get active and have a dance party while listening to Spanish music! Laugh with your kids while watching a funny program in Russian! Take turns with your kid reading about animals in Hebrew! This is just the tip of the iceberg. With the options available through today’s technology, the options are limitless.

Conversation is key

Talking with a native speaker in real time is one of the most effective ways to really grasp a language. The United States is a melting pot, so you may be able to find someone who natively speaks the language you and your family are trying to learn. However, if that’s not possible, you can find a language buddy online. This is someone you’ll chat with who is trying to learn English. You’ll practice each other’s languages and both be grateful for the time spent.

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