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How to Learn a Language With Your Kids

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Keep Your Children Entertained by Involving Them in Your Language Study

Throughout this current pandemic, many of our readers have been facing the task of home-schooling their children. They’ve been looking for activities to keep them – and the kids – all busy.

With trying to juggle working from home, supervising the kids’ learning, keeping the whole family entertained without going outdoors, making sure everyone is fed, it can be easy to see why parents would decide to put their Pimsleur study on the back burner until this has all blown over.

But that doesn’t have to be the case!

With our help, you could strike two of those items from your ‘to-do’ list in one fell swoop.

If there’s one thing lockdown is teaching us, it’s that it’s easier than we think to pivot and change strategy. So why not keep your children entertained by involving them in your language study?

There are a ton of reasons why joining forces with your kids to study your language is a great idea. Here are just some of the benefits for both you and your child.

Benefits of Language Learning for Kids

Children who learn languages perform better academically.

Language learning practices problem-solving skills, creative thinking, listening, and critical thinking – all of which will help them in later life! Kids with a second language also tend to score higher on standardized tests.

Language learning for kids is easier than for adults.

Ever wondered why kids who move to another country pick up the language so much more easily than adults? The “window of opportunity” is the reason for this. It’s the period in childhood where the brain finds it easiest to acquire new sounds. It’s strongest in the under-5s and has normally closed by the onset of adolescence. So, get them involved now to make the best use of their natural talent.

Gain an academic edge

For younger kids, teaching them a second language now could give them a head start on when they begin to learn French, Spanish, German (or whichever language) in high school.

Homework help and enrichment

For older kids who are already in high school and learning the same language as you, including them in your Pimsleur practice could help them with their homework for school.

Benefits of Language Learning for Adults

Teaching reinforces learning

By teaching your kids what you know in your second language, you’ll reinforce your own knowledge and improve your ability to remember what you’ve already learned. This is because people remember:

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we learn from audio-visual prompts
  • 90% of what we teach someone else

Lifelong family learning

If your children enjoy studying with you during lockdown, who knows, they may also be bitten by the language bug, and you may end up with a new study partner for the future!

You get to spend one-on-one time with your child!


Top Ways to Include Your Children in Language Learning

There are many ways you can include your children in language study, it just takes a little creativity. We’ve suggested some lockdown activities below:

Play games.

Adapt some of your favorite English-language games to include your second language. It’s surprising how many games can incorporate basic vocabulary:

Simple card games, such as “Snap”, “Cheat”, “Twenty-one” (Blackjack), or “Go Fish”. This could help you sneakily include math practice into your child’s day!

The simplest game is a memory game with cards face down, where you have to match pairs by turning over two cards at a time.

I-Spy will help you practice vocabulary.

Learn some nursery rhymes together.

Youtube contains nursery rhymes in many languages, some with videos to help tell the stories. They contain simple words and melodies, often with a story, so are perfect for everyone from beginner level to advanced.

Take to the kitchen and bake or cook using a recipe in your target language.

It could be something as simple as grilled cheese, but if you follow a recipe, you’ll be practicing your language skills too. Kids love helping in the kitchen, plus it’s an opportunity to teach them about cooking or domestic duties.

Learn some tongue twisters in your second language.

They will improve your pronunciation, and you’ll have so much fun getting your words muddled!

Watch cartoons in your target language.

Disney movies are perfect for this, especially because you’re more likely to know the story beforehand. Many streaming services provide multiple audio language options on their titles.

Write down a shopping list and shop for groceries in your target language.

You can teach your child the vocabulary before the trip and read items to them from your list when you’re at the store. Let them lead you to the aisle you need!

Play computer games in your target language.

If you already play computer games with your kids in English, switch the language to boost your practice.

Sing karaoke together.

Youtube has versions of popular songs in other languages. Look the lyrics up online and sing along!

Have your child tutor you.

If your older children are learning your target language at high school, ask them to tutor you. This will help develop their soft skills and coaching abilities, improve confidence, and help them revise French verbs at the same time.

Do your Pimsleur study together.

Children learn through exposure and repetition, and their brains are in the perfect state to absorb language. The recordings on our courses are at an accessible speed for children and adults, so why not ask them to study with you?

You might find your child picks up the language more quickly than you did, but remember, this is no failing on your part because children’s brains are wired to absorb languages more easily.


Choose From Over 50 Languages

Start your family’s language learning journey here – with a free week of Pimsleur lessons!

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Hopefully, our ideas will mean that your language learning routine doesn’t have to suffer during the Covid crisis. And as a bonus, you can keep the kids busy during lockdown.

Who knows, if you and your children enjoy learning as a team, could your new-found methods be a healthy habit that continues once the pandemic is over?

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