"SaY" it with Education: How to teach * ANY * language to your child
I have been teaching languages to kids for more than 5 years and in every class I teach, there is always one activity the kids just can't get enough of. It makes them want to speak and learn more right off the bat.
I have realized that no matter which child you are teaching, it is MOST important for them to enjoy themselves while they learn.
So after years of trial and error, I finally figured out how to get kids to start actually liking, adoring and dare I say loving (?!) any language in 10 minutes or less.
If you want your child to eventually learn a language, like Hindi, so they can chat with relatives, be included when they visit India or just to learn another language, it is key for them to WANT to learn it on their own. They must learn to enjoy learning it. Trust me, this is half the battle!
What People (usually) do Wrong
There are traps everyone falls into. I did at first too. One of the main mistakes is: teaching kids words to memorize.
Expecting kids to remember words makes them start withdrawing from the language. Children want to scream and run away. It makes them think the language is dull, arduous and boring.
This is not time-consuming 10+ step process to language instruction. It takes 10 minutes or less and then the learning takes off WITHOUT you.
So how do you get your child involved, interested and ready to jump head-first into learning a language? My trick is always to:
Use Action Words
Verbs aka action words: words that make one move, jump, sweat, laugh. Do it all!
So this makes sense right? It is unconventional especially as the number one tactic most people use to kickstart teaching languages is nouns. Static, lifeless nouns.
Perhaps they label items with words, or simply teach them names of animals. It may work, but it's definitely not engaging or interesting.
The key here is that their first introduction to any language, the groundwork, the foundation into the language needs to be big, jump-up-and-down, go-crazy kind of exciting.
Plus we're talking about kids here! They want to have fun. And they should! So make language learning 'playtime'. Repeat that to yourself until its true.
And, here's what you should do.
Pick the action words you want to teach. Start with no more than 5-6 words. Usually, when I am teaching Hindi, I go straight for the most fun words, like "nacho" (to make them dance) or "gaao" (sing) and mix in some easy things like "aao" (come) "jaao" (go), "baitho" (sit) and "utho" (get up).
Show kids how to do it. If it's "koodo," jump. If "so jao," then act out sleeping. You can use whatever your child responds to best.
Kids love play time. Have them stand up and do the actions as you call them out. Go fast, go slow, add words, and try to confuse them. This is the best part. It might take a few minutes at first, but as they get good it takes less and less time. It becomes a fun activity.
Once they master at the first few words you teach -- go back and pick new words.
Repeat the process.
Try this and let us know how well it works for you!
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