Mums, who give the gift of languages to their children, open them up to a new world. Their sons and daughters will be thankful for the rest of their lives. We’ve has asked mums about their experience of multilingual upbringing and tips on how to make language learning more fun.
About 8 percent of the UK population and 22 percent of the London population1 speak a main language other than English. Passing these language skills on to the children, both professional and personal, because they are bilingual. Bilingualism is one of the best bridges you can build to the rest of the world.” No matter if your children grow up in a bilingual household, or if they learn languages at school, there are different ways to make language learning fun:
1. Children are curious – inspire them! Play “language guessing” on the street, or visit a multilingual playgroup. Songs are also a good and fun way to “open their ears” to different sounds. Anissa A. S., a German married to a Briton living in London, speaks only German to her daughter, but occasionally sings in Portuguese or Spanish: “I love the curious look on her face when I sing in a different language. She is so keen to sing along that it doesn’t take long for her to join in.”
2. Boost their brain! While a multilingual upbringing not only connects children to their heritage, it also boosts their brain development. Whether both parents speak their common language at home and English is then acquired from the community, or if you follow the “one parent, one language” strategy, one of the key factors for success is to be consistent!
3. Learn together! Emma Martin, mother of two, who moved from England to Cyprus, knows that to support your child with a new language, it helps to study the language, too: “They see you are trying too and it helps them realise how well they are doing rather than only ever comparing themselves to native speakers and feeling behind.”
4. Engage – with patience! “Make it fun, allow them to be creative, and don’t always correct them on the spot,” is the advice of Barbara Cacao, an Austrian married to a Portuguese living in London, who raises trilingual children. When children experience fun when using language, they will continue learning out of their own interest.
5. Show them the value! A language can create a special bond between you and your child. Travel blogger Alice Griffin learns French using Rosetta Stone: ”My daughter loves to feel that she has learnt something valuable and even if I spend all day saying “c’est un chien”, I don’t mind to see the smile on her face.”
Interactive language-learning software enables mums to provide daily exposure to a new language in a convenient, cost-effective way: Rosetta Stone focuses on speaking skills, but also increases listening skills, vocabulary and reading skills. The interactive Rosetta Stone method leads the learner to arrive at the right answers intuitively, rather than relying on repetition and parroting. Language-learning becomes child’s play for the whole family.