By October 13, 2011 Read More →

Expat Children And Learning Foreign Language

We have several single parents who are from outside the US who are bringing their children into the states to live and many parents who are working outside of the US in a foreign land with their children.  Language is always a barrier.

While you decide to settle in a foreign country, you are already prepared to face the list of challenges coming your way. Climate, food, culture, etc. are few factors that are inevitable. Language, as we know plays a vital role in message transmission thus you would certainly fear about your family/kids facing speech problems if alien to the new place.

Well, if that’s your concern then relax! Because kids do not fear or rather lack certain complex social concerns unlike adults. They are not so self-conscious to attempt a new language and they openly try new pronunciation/grammatical terms. Thus kids won’t focus on practical issues instead they would aim to create a huge friend circle. And this would help them to gradually and easily learn the new language with much less effort than you do.

Also, we understand from a research study that people who often travel to places are adept in choosing friends and handling relationships than children who have not experienced a change in lifestyle. Hence kids don’t take time to pick their friends and often move into deeper levels of friendship. They fearlessly discuss personal opinions and even disagree with peers on certain issues. Hence to interact at such a level, children are encouraged to pick the local language more quickly.

Here are few tips for raising children to help them learn a new/foreign language more quickly.

Give Them Enough Time

We understand that children learn a new language easier than adults but it is still not an easy task and needs sufficient time. Parents must take enough patience and commitment to embed the new vocabulary in their children. As parents you must view your child’s acquisition of a second language for a long-term and understand that it will not always run smoothly. Do not make fun of their mistakes if any, instead correct them. Keep encouraging them for their attempt towards the new language and your support will lead them to success.

Create a Language Network

You can create a social group with other people of the same interest who are teaching their kids new/foreign languages. You can make your kids to keep in touch and interact via advanced mediums such as international calls, emails, chat or by online texting from your computer.  If few families stay nearby they can plan out meetings and encourage the children to converse with one another in their new language. This language network will assist to share ideas and tips and you will also benefit from the learning experiences of others. This will provide a safe environment for learning the language skills and also having fun.

Positive Example & Learning Opportunities

It is so obvious that children learn and practice by observation. Thus, if parents set in a positive approach towards learning a new language so would children also. Children will often imitate the values of their parents. Hence it is important that you don’t show a sign that this is tough or something that can’t be achieved. Explain to them the reason for learning a new language and create a learning environment of ideas and fun.

Raising children bilingually means surrounding them with opportunities to learn. It is therefore important that you create as many occasions for them to gain exposure to the new language as possible. Encourage them to watch cartoons and shows in a foreign language, and you can enjoy playing word games with them.

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