Helping children learn a new language, 10 minutes at a time

This post is based on the original article originally published in MultilingualLiving.

Learning a new language is a fascinating experience. Instilling the love of learning languages in our children makes the whole experience even stronger. But how and when do we actually do it? As parents, we both work full-time and raise 2 children. And like all parents we are busy and our plates are full. In the evening, we are tired and a lot is going on during week-ends.

This is why we believe that it all starts with 10 minutes. Having our children learn a new language starts with a commitment: making 10 minutes count! We can take advantage of what we do every day to make it a language learning opportunity. Some days we only have 10 minutes. Some other days we might be able to squeeze in 2 or 3 different 10-minute activities together.

Here are 8 things we use. Not more than 10 minutes at a time.
                Tip #1: Breakfast with Spiderman 
Our son loves superheroes, and Spiderman stories are his favorite. So we read them in French while having breakfast together on week-ends.
                Tip #2: Play “Veo Veo”
 "Veo, Veo", "Que ves?", "Una cosita", "Y que cosita es?" is the Spanish version of "I spy with my little eye". Our kids love it, at the kitchen table, in the car, at the doctor's. Great way to build vocabulary in Spanish.
                Tip #3: Bottle Song With both Elena and Pablo, before they turned 1, we used to give the last bottle of the day around 11pm. I made it a habit to sing every time in French, both to relax them and myself, and get them to sleep.
                Tip #4: YouTube routine 
Asterix et Obelix, Zorro, Oui-Oui are all cartoons in French on YouTube, that are split in 10 minute episodes. We made watching one a night a routine, right after brushing teeth.
                Tip #5: Aperitif en francais Our kids are more motivated to do a page of their French homework book with some baby carrots and a few almonds. So when I come back from work, we sit-down for 10 minutes with a light snack and we do a page of French.
                Tip#6: iPad stories 
We allow our children to listen to 2 short stories on iPad on week-ends, in either French or Spanish. During that time we can pay our bills or do some chores, and still feel that they are developing their comprehension skills.
                Tip #7: Play soccer with Messi
 Just like his dad, Pablo loves soccer. We pretend we are Ronaldo and Messi. 5- to 10-minute game. It helps practice French soccer vocabulary while kicking the ball.
                Tip #8: Take a class
 Having our children take a Chinese class once a week has a forcing function on us. Elena has a total of about 40/50min of homework to do. Her Chinese teacher does not mince words when the homework is not done. So we better do it, 10 minutes at a time.

How do you use 10 minutes to help your child learn a new language?