As you step into 2023 and consider New Year’s resolutions, you may have thought to include practicing a second language with your kids, or promoting bilingualism more consistently, in your list of goals. While implementing a goal like this all at once can feel overwhelming, we’re here to help by giving you three simple ideas to achieve success with your language learning resolutions. Like any other resolution, the key is always starting with small, realistic changes and maintaining consistency. So, make sure to set goals that work for your family, your schedule and most importantly—make the process enjoyable!
1. Designate a specific time in the day as “second language time.
With busy schedules, it’s easy for language practice to slip parents’ minds amongst the many other daily to-do’s. That said, we have an easy tip that will not only help you remember to consistently practice new vocabulary with your little ones in the target language, but help them learn the words and eventually, use them over time! We suggest designating a specific time in your day to practice your child’s second language. Ideally, this would be around the same time or routine activity every day so that you can guarantee that both you and your child will be available to practice the target language. Consistent exposure is crucial, and this ensures that you don’t forget to make it a part of your everyday routine! This can be before or after your child wakes up from his or her afternoon nap every day, during your bedtime routine, or during afternoon play time. Try your best to speak or provide activities solely in the target language during this time so that your child gets as much exposure as possible during this practice. This way, you’ll feel good knowing definitively that your little one has gotten his or her necessary language practice in for the day.
2. Read in the target language.
Reading is so important for language learning as it not only provides repetition and exposure to the target language, but also allows children to explore topics they are interested in along with captivating stories and images. When children are engaged, they are more likely to learn new words that relate to the topics that interest them. As you work towards introducing a second language, bilingual books, or books in the second language, give children context in which to learn the meaning of new words, so reading helps your child grasp their meanings and pronunciation. Books are also an incredible tool that allow you to go beyond the words in a book and start a dialogue with your little one where you can introduce new words as you elaborate upon the illustrations and discuss the sounds in a sound book. Bedtime is a great time to read to your little one and bond with him or her while doing so! If you are looking to introduce Spanish as a second language, check out Binibi’s bilingual sound books, which are the perfect language-learning tool that will captivate your little one through vivid images and engaging sounds as you practice Spanish at home.
3. Sing songs in the target language.
It’s no secret that children love to sing songs, singing the ones they love most over and over again! Use this to your advantage for language learning! Rhyme and repetition are highly effective for language learning and melody helps little ones memorize new words in the target language more easily. The best part is that you can use this activity to bond with your child and have fun while singing together. If possible, act out the songs to help your child associate the meaning of new words with your actions like you would do in songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. Try looking up your child’s favorite songs in the target language as they are more likely to enjoy and learn the song they are already familiar with. Bilingual musical books, like Binibi books, are a great way to introduce and practice popular nursery rhymes and songs in Spanish that will have your little one singing in no time! The benefits of introducing a second language to children, especially while they’re young, make this a beneficial resolution that is well worth the effort. Remember, language learning should be fun and easygoing, so however you choose to incorporate language practice into your day, it should be enjoyable to you and your family. Activities like reading, singing and dancing are definitely great ways to keep the process light and fun for everyone!
This blog series is powered by Binibi, an education company dedicated to promoting bilingualism at the earliest ages. Binibi makes bilingual sound books for children ages 0-5 that are designed for parents to have a fun and easy way to introduce a second language at home, from day one. Binibi is dedicated to creating reading experiences that are both entertaining and educational, and to encouraging parents and caregivers to spend time with their babies through reading together. Binibi seeks to promote language development in children and to encourage families to raise bilingual children.