How to Help Your Child Effectively Learn Spanish
The decision to study a new language is the beginning of a wonderful adventure. It’s a look into a new culture, a great way to meet people with different backgrounds and stretch ourselves intellectually. As a parent, you can jump in on the fun with some interactive practices to help your child both effectively and quickly learn Spanish.
Make it Visible
A great way to enhance comprehension and build confidence is to let students listen to directions in a new language and respond physically as opposed to verbally. This is a low risk technique that a lot of classroom teachers use because it shows students that they already know the words, all they have to do is apply them.
Ask your child to “Abre la ventana,” (open the window), or “Prueba la sopa,” (try the soup), without the stress of responding in words, actions only. It’s a small thing that shows them they’re learning a lot. It’s also a great chance for you as a parent to get involved in the language learning process, something your kids will really appreciate!
Make it Physical
Everyone learns new things differently. Some people love to sit and read for hours while others find the practice nothing short of a nightmare. It’s important to be honest about how your child learns and then follow their style rather than fight it.
Many kids learn through physical activity. If your child lives for soccer practice, ask a friend who is fluent in Spanish to play a game with your family using only Spanish. Your child will learn in a natural, organic way as they have a great time on the field. Dance, art and theater are also great opportunities for learners to practice Spanish away from a textbook.
Make it Emotional
Ask a person what they did last Tuesday and they’re likely to struggle to recount a normal day. Ask someone what they did for their birthday or Christmas and the stories are endless. That’s due to the fact that our memories are much more colorful when we associate them with strong emotion.
A great way to to do use this to learn Spanish is to use a sad song, a powerful film or an emotional story. Print out lyrics or turn on subtitles, (also in Spanish), to help your child catch the words, associate them to a melody or a moment, and then incorporate them into their own vocabulary.
Another great method is to give your child the chance to make friends with a Spanish speaker who doesn’t live nearby. Ask around for anyone who might know a student in a Latin country that can write emails or text messages to your child in Spanish. They’ll want to know what their friend is saying and respond the best way possible. This will help them see that language connects them to people and inspire them to keep learning. Best of all, they might just make a friend for life.
All students learn differently, but with some fun, creative practices you can help your child become fluent in Spanish in a much shorter time. Friendships, games, music – all of these can be effective methods in learning a new language.