If English is the language spoken in your home, then your child will naturally start to pick it up. From a very young age children pick up on the phonetics and speech patterns of the language they hear every day in their home environment. Learning the English language, like any other, requires exposure and of course some help on behalf of the parents.
Talk to your child
One of the biggest keys to teaching your child English is to spend time talking with your child. “Adults help children learn language primarily by talking with them,” says Bruce D. Perry, PhD, Professor of Child Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. Every conversation matters, and children pick up words and sentence structure from the language they hear from the people around them.
You can make this teaching method even more focused by using your opportunities to talk to your child as learning opportunities. Work on a vocabulary-oriented learning activity together, and spend time asking your child questions and discussing what is being learned.
Read with your child
Reading is one of the ways in which children learn language. The combination of hearing it spoken as you read aloud and connecting the words with the images helps to cement language skills. “Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills, their ability to express themselves verbally,” explains Barbara Freedman-de Vito, a children’s librarian and teacher turned publisher of children’s books.
Remember that what you read matters! Always choose age appropriate books, and look for the right combination of images and words to help impart both sentence structure and the connection between images and the words that describe them.
You are the best teacher!
Parents have the power to start the process of teaching English or any other language. Children learn first from parents, so your dedication to the process, along with the right learning tools, can put your child on the road to success. Remember these simple tips:
Your child is always listening, so make every conversation a learning opportunity
Books are the best tool you have to teach language
Use appropriate learning activities and talk with your child as you complete the tasks
Learning English is difficult, but at no age is a human being more up to the task than in childhood. Your child can learn a language faster than you as an adult can! Invest your time and you will see incredible advances.