Learning Spanish is a great opportunity for your children, but it does present some challenges and it can be a slow process.
It’s important for you, as a parent, to understand what you should and shouldn’t do in order to help your children love the language. In general, you should be patient and, if you can, practice with your children to help them become comfortable.
But there are also things you shouldn’t do. Here are four.
Don’t Pressure Them to Speak in Front of Others
If your children aren’t comfortable speaking Spanish, don’t pressure them to do so in front of relatives or family friends. Being in the spotlight can put kids under a considerable amount of stress, especially if they’re typically nervous or self-conscious around others. Besides — asking them to recite words rarely gives kids a good chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned, anyway. Instead, it might make them less confident about their ability to speak Spanish, which will interfere with the learning process.
Don’t Speak English When It’s Time to Practice Spanish
One of the best ways for your children to learn Spanish is by practicing it regularly. Whether they’re engaging in conversation, practicing certain words or phrases, or simply playing a Spanish game online, it’s crucial to set English aside during practice time and switch exclusively to Spanish. Speaking only Spanish during this time helps your children slowly become more fluent in the language and more accustomed to using it.
Don’t Forget That Learning Should Be Fun
Having your children go over a list of words or repeat the same sentences in Spanish can get boring for them — fast. In order to encourage them to learn Spanish, make the learning process a fun one.
Put the list away, and turn on some Spanish songs for them to sing along with and dance to, or come up with short skits that they can act out entirely in Spanish. A fun approach to learning can help your children become more eager to practice what they’ve learned.
Don’t Challenge Your Kids Too Much
While it’s important to encourage your children to put their Spanish speaking skills to use, don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that kids need time to learn new skills at their own pace, so keep challenges within reason. For example, try to be happy that they’re reading books in Spanish, even if those books would be well below their reading level in English.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that you help your children learn Spanish, rather than come to avoid it.