It is easier for children to learn foreign languages from scratch: they instantly learn all the grammatical constructions that adults learn so diligently. The child will easily speak both two and four languages. The main thing is to constantly deal with him!
It is worth starting teaching a child a foreign language after he has completed the process of forming his native language, then when the child has a clear sound pronunciation and developed coherent speech. And full immersion in the language environment, whether it be special language nurseries or independent studies, with the obligatory observance of the conditions of bilingualism, will significantly speed up the process and make a real polyglot out of the kid!
Learning English with children: important rules and basic theoretical points
- Don't forget your native language. First, the child must perfectly master the foreign language, and only after that can one begin to study foreign languages.
- Start your language learning with listening and reviewing skills . Children do not need to be loaded with theory. At an early age, constant speech practice (dialogues, books, dramatization) is considered the best way to learn a foreign language.
- Emphasize your child's abilities . Does he like to count? Practice math in English. Sing? Sing songs in a foreign language. Paint? Use special coloring pages. By doing what he is interested in, the child will better absorb new information.
- Practice constantly. Long breaks in language learning can negate all successes.
- Show your own positive example.
- Learn what surrounds the child : body parts, family members, colors, animals. It is best to provide all information in context. So children will be able to build the correct associative array and learn to think in a foreign language.
- Don't use abstract concepts. The child needs to be presented with only "tangible" material: letters, words, and not sounds.
- Children need to memorize whole words . No need to learn letters separately from words!
- Get the child interested . Children should not be bored, otherwise nothing will work.
5 ways to learn English with your child
Communicate with your child using English words and phrases
Just incorporate English into your daily life. When communicating with your child, use English vocabulary in the context of the situation, use words that are related to the child's current life (family, animals, clothes, colors) and support the spoken words with visual images.
- Mom, look - a dog!
- Yes, really a dog. Do you know how it will be in English? Dog! This is a dog.
Learn children's songs and poems
You can easily find children's poems and songs on the Internet, but it is better to present the material to the child in the form of an interesting performance.
Consider the main stages of working with poems and songs:
- Study the material yourself, work out the pronunciation
- Practice reading the work expressively and come up with a visual support for the baby
- Introduce a poem or song to your child. Then discuss with the baby what he liked
- Invite him to join your number and prepare a talk for other family members.
Read children's books
It is worth starting reading books when the baby already knows individual words. It's better to choose a story with a simple plot and lots of illustrations. If the book interests the child, he will independently take it to look at and study - this will create motivation.
Show your child cartoons
Children at an early age have incredible linguistic intuition, so watching cartoons or educational videos on Youtube will only help the kid to learn English.
Children may not understand the words, but they perfectly understand the emotions of the characters, painted on their faces or pronounced with a voice. After watching a cartoon, a child can easily start humming songs or repeating words from it. This method allows children to get used to the new speech and pronounce the words correctly.
Play fun games
During an interesting game, the child will not even notice that you are teaching him something, and will catch on the fly! It is best to organize joint games with kids, and when the child grows up, offer him online games for learning a foreign language.
Foreign language games - learning English is easy!
Flashcards will help you learn new vocabulary. Create them together with your child: this will interest the child even at the stage of preparation for learning English. Let's look at some cognitive games using flashcards:
- What's missing. It is necessary to arrange several cards in a row (4-5 pieces). Then look at them with your child and say the words. Next, the baby closes his eyes, and you remove one card. The child needs to answer the question "What's missing?"
- Pantomime . You tell the child an English word and show it on the card, and he must show it with gestures. After the baby has got used to it, you can play the reverse pantomime: the child draws out a card and begins to depict what is indicated on it, and the rest of the participants guess
- Jump to ... This game is perfect for active children and will certainly not let them get bored! Lay the cards vertically on the floor and give the child the task to jump to a word
- Touch your… With this game you can easily learn body parts. For example, you say “Touch your nose,” and a child is touching his nose.
You can learn English with a child not only with the help of vocabulary cards. There are many other fun games that will make learning a foreign language fun:
- Hangman . The classic word game is perfect for building a child's vocabulary
- Magic bag. Take a medium-sized opaque bag and place various items in it. After that, the child needs to get them out of there and call them. The game will be more interesting if the kid puts his hand into the bag "blindly" and guess the contents by touch
- Edible / Inedible. You need a small, light ball to play. Stand in a circle and start throwing the ball to each other, naming any object. If the spoken word means something edible, the player who was thrown the ball must catch it. And if the named item is inedible, then push it away. This game will help children learn the names of food in a playful way. In addition, it perfectly develops attention and responsiveness.
- Cities / words . The game will help expand the child's vocabulary. Choose a topic for your lesson and begin listing the words one at a time. The basic rule is that a new word must start with the last letter of the previous one
- Role-playing games. Create any fictitious conditions and play the situation. For example, you can play a “store” with your child, where he needs to buy groceries from an English-speaking saleswoman. Before playing, repeat words and phrases with your child on the chosen topic. Additionally, you can act out plays or fairy tales. Any child will love it!
Useful websites for learning English with children
Handouts for Learning English with Children
- The Buggy & Buddy website is full of crafts, experiments, and childcare ideas. Here, in the Free Printables section, there are worksheets with interesting tasks, coloring pages and much more.
- EnglishForKids is a native speaking-language site for parents and teachers with helpful tips, interesting articles, games and downloads. In the section "Fairy Tales" you can find the texts of fairy tales translated into English
- Enchanted Learning is a children's educational site designed to make learning a child easy and enjoyable. Ease of use is the hallmark of the portal. Children need the most understandable computer interface, and here the material is presented so that navigation and control are intuitive
- ABCteach is a free educational site for teachers. The portal has the ability to create all kinds of worksheets on your own, which will make learning English with a child even more interesting. Additionally, the site contains many useful educational materials: interactive tasks, crosswords, cards, etc.
Learn the alphabet and words: online games for kids
- Vocabulary.co.il is the leading vocabulary site with the best online word games. Games include word search, crossword puzzle, gallows and others. Users select a list of words to be used in the online game. The materials posted on the site are designed for different age groups, which will allow children to learn the language for several years in a row. Word games will help your child repeat the alphabet in a fun way and easily expand vocabulary
- MES English is a dedicated portal containing resources for teachers. All materials are versatile and useful for all ages and levels. Find flashcards, worksheets, handouts and online games here
- ESL Games Plus offers interactive online games for learning and teaching English as a Second Language. The portal contains materials for teaching and practicing grammar and vocabulary. Kids expand their vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation and phonetics through fun educational games. The site features online memory and spelling games, interactive board games, car races, combination games and much more.
- LearnEnglishKids by BritishCouncil has many educational and fun online games. For example, Trolley Dash, where you need to buy products from the shopping list for speed or word games, where you need to match a word and a picture
- On the CambridgeEnglish website under Learning English> Parents and Children, you will find games and interactive activities for children. Additionally, the portal contains many tips for parents. Each assignment will help your child to practice at least one of the skills tested in the Cambridge English: Young Learners tests: reading, writing, listening or speaking.