If we’re honest with ourselves, few of us like to take on a big task all by ourselves. Whether it’s something as simple as cleaning the whole house, or as complicated as implementing a technical project at work, extra “hands” make the work feel easier – and it does wonders for our accountability! Learning another language is no different. Another voice can help remind each other to keep practicing, and make it way more fun.
If you don’t know French at home, why not participate with your child? Not only will your child find this greatly encouraging, you’ll show them that one can never be too old to learn something new.
Here’s some fun, easy ways for an adult to learn from their child:
Learn songs together
Frère Jacques, the ABC’s, and even C'est l'Halloween are great ways to learn the fundamentals. Be sure to slow things down enough that you get practice with pronunciation, and it will also help you learn to identify the individual words in the language – one of the most challenging obstacles for anyone learning a new language. For a little extra practice for your child, let them translate the lyrics for you.
Fun fact: did you know that the song C'est l'Halloween was written by a young teacher named Matt Maxwell in 1981? The CBC has a wonderful story about how it came to be.
Read your child’s books to them (and let them laugh)
One of our parents has found helping her son with French to be especially challenging… because her second language is Spanish. While knowing Spanish can help a non-French speaker read a lot of words in French, it certainly doesn’t help one speak it! The silver lining in this scenario, however, is that teaching someone is wonderful practice. Reading his French books aloud to him, with her “incorrect” Spanish pronunciation, has been a fun game for both of them. Not only does it make him laugh, it also encourages him to teach her the subtle differences in the way certain letters and accent marks make words sound. And in return, he’s learned that the Spanish alphabet is quite different, especially in the way they pronounce two Ls together, and the letter J!
Play the name game by labeling everyday objects around the house… and after a few days, remove the labels and see how many you remember! Encourage your child to test your skill and let them pick out a family movie if they’ve taught you well!
Being multilingual has great benefits for children – even if that second language isn’t French. Be sure to check out our other tips on introducing children to any second language!
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