Teaching your child Spanish is one of the best things you can do for him or her. However, some parents find that motivating a child to practice Spanish is difficult.
A variety of factors contribute to boosting motivation, but one of them is, simply, ensuring the child practices enough to retain his or her new language skills. How can you make Spanish education fun so that your child is willing to practice?
How About...a Tent?
It may sound a little out of the ordinary, but here at Salta we recommend a method that works very well: set up a tent.
The tent doesn’t have to be large or anything special — a $30 pup tent from Wal-Mart is all you need. Even blankets draped over the backs of some dining room chairs will do.
The important part is that you create a special location that's "fun." This could be in your backyard, in the living room, or in the rec room. The goal is to create a location where, once the child steps into the tent, he or she feels excitement.
Here’s the trick that helps reinforce your child’s second language: you need to spend at least 30 minutes a day in the tent, and when you’re in there your child can only speak Spanish.
You may wish to consider it a type of game. Perhaps the tent "transports" you to a Spanish-speaking country — and the only way to communicate with each other is through this new language.
Decorate the tent to include Spanish-themed clothing or accessories. Use lots of color. You might even bring along a flashlight and music cd’s in Spanish to make it even more fun.
However, once your child understands the Spanish-only rule, it's time to practice. Don’t worry about what you talk about… As long as you do so in Spanish, there are no rules to Incorporate Your Child’s Lesson Plan
Before you get into the tent, review your child’s lesson plan for the day. Once inside, go over it together. Work on the language together if you are both learning. Salta's Leap program is very thorough and offers vocabulary words to follow if you yourself are learning Spanish. You can easily follow along.
Most importantly, make sure the activity is fun for both of you. It should not be a punishment to practice in this way.
Trust Us...the Tent Works
As your child learns to speak Spanish in the tent, he or she will become more comfortable with this process. This is positive reinforcement at its best. What's important here is not just that he or she is practicing Spanish, but that the child is getting — and enjoying — the one-on-one time he or she needs with you. Most children crave this.
By using that one-on-one enjoyment, you'll have no problem encouraging your child to speak Spanish.