The simple answer is “the sooner the better”! Children start to pick up sounds all around them from the moment they are born and by the age of two they are quickly absorbing everything they see and hear. It has been proven that the earlier a child starts to learn a second language, the more likely they are to speak it as fluently as their first language. Additionally, it has been shown that children who have been learning a foreign language become high academic achievers, outperforming their peers. On leaving school and applying for jobs, if your child knows a second language they will have a competitive edge over those who don’t.
So if you want your child to excel in school and have the best opportunities when entering the workforce, encourage them to learn Spanish as soon as possible.
Teaching your child Spanish can be a very rewarding experience. Here are a few ideas as to how you can encourage your child to learn Spanish.
1. Make learning as fun as possible so that learning Spanish is an enjoyable experience and not a boring chore.
2. Regularly set aside a “Spanish- only time” when you only speak and play in Spanish.
3. Music and songs help children get used to the sounds of the language and are a fun way of learning.
4. Introduce basic Spanish words and greetings. For example, teach everyday objects like foods and drinks by saying the Spanish word at mealtimes. When you give them a glass of milk for example, say the word “leche” (milk), or if they are eating an apple, say “manzana” (pronounced “manthana”). Use lots of repetition and only start to introduce more words once you feel they are confident with what they have already learned.
5. Borrow children’s books in Spanish from your local library. Make sure you regularly read with them and discuss the pictures, pointing out the colours or animals, etc.
6. Buy resources such as flashcards, story books, activity books and DVD’s from sites like Amazon or The Little Linguist.
7. Encourage them to play games in Spanish; bingo, eye-spy, memory games, snap, shopping role-plays, drawing and painting.
8. Use free online interactive games and resources such as the BBC Primary Spanish website for games, video and audio activities.
9. Learning a language is a slow process. Allow your child to make mistakes as this is a part of the learning process and they need to feel confident using the language.
10. Immerse your child in Spanish whenever possible. Try to take them on holidays to Spain or regularly speak with a native Spanish speaker you may know. Children copy what they see and hear so the more they are surrounded by Spanish in everyday life, the quicker they will learn to use Spanish themselves.
Buy a good dictionary and a basic workbook for you to learn the basics. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn since once you have learned the few different sounds, you say the word exactly as you see it written.
Book a few lessons with one of our Spanish tutors experienced in teaching children. In just a few lessons you will be equipped with everything you need to teach your child Spanish yourself.
Tel: 07870 699404