10 New Year Resolutions to Help Children Learn a 2nd Language

We all believe that teaching our children more than one language will have a positive impact on their lives. This is the perfect time to make this new year a great language learning year.

Our 10 resolutions are articulated along 3 themes:
-       Make the commitment
-       Make it fun
-       Make it easy

1.     Make the commitment: Spend vacation in your target country

The preparation of the trip is as much a learning opportunity as the trip itself: learning vocabulary, the places to visit, how to greet friends.

2.     Make the commitment: Find an online tutor

There are several websites out there that offer very flexible and affordable tutoring and conversation in the language you would like your child to pick up. You can do it from home via Skype, at the time you want, at the frequency you want.

3.     Make the commitment: Sign up for Saturday school

Check out opportunities for language instruction on Saturdays. Start with Mommy or Daddy-and-me classes. Often there are volunteer or non-profit schools not far away (ex.: Huaxia schools in New Jersey for Mandarin, Alliance Française in New York or Parlez-Vous Francais in New Jersey for French)

4.     Make it fun: Watch your favorite cartoons in the target language

Whether it is Beauty and the Beast or The Incredibles, you feel better about your children watching TV if they are exposed to a 2nd language

5.     Make it fun: Find a song you sing together karaoke-style

Find on YouTube a song you and your child like, and sing it together until you know it by heart.

6.     Make it fun: Find an app your children love

A fun app to learn a language on a tablet or phone keeps the kids entertained and engaged while traveling or when you need a break

7.     Make it easy: Make a 5 minute routine out of a bedtime story

Reading stories is the cornerstone of learning a new language. Selecting a favorite story and making it a routine creates a repetition of key expressions and enhances learning

8.     Make it easy: Engage friends and family to read stories

Ask your family or friends for help. If someone is far away, ask them to read a story in the 2nd language via Skype.

9.     Make it easy: Listen to podcast stories

Several free podcasts (like Cody’s Cuentos in Spanish) offer you a weekly story your child will enjoy

10.  Make it top of mind

Write the resolutions, print them out and stick them on the fridge!