Having your child learn a second language does more than expand their horizons socially and culturally; it also gives them an advantage educationally and economically.
More doors are open to bilingual speakers, plus there are very few things funnier and more fulfilling than learning the language of another. It almost seems a waste not to teach our children as they still reside in the formative years when they're most susceptible to learning more than one means of communication.
How can you help as a parent if you're not a bilingual speaker yourself?
We outlined five ideas below:
1. Hire A Bilingual Nanny
Nannies are very handy to have around and take a great deal of pressure off when it comes to taking care of the house and kids. Additionally, many of them may speak a second language natively. This comes as a wonderful package as you will have an extra pair of hands to help around the house while a loving nanny can introduce your child to a new language and culture. Where can you find them? Ayiconnect provides such an opportunity, connecting you with a local bilingual caregiver and nanny.
2. Host an Au Pair
An Au Pair offers a similar service as a live-in bilingual nanny but is governed under a structured program with different rules and regulations. An Au Pair comes from a foreign country to learn the way of life you live and provide childcare services. Typically they act as a helper around the house with a set schedule while staying in an extra room in your home. Au Pairs, in some cases, will move on to other things once their program is completed, but they leave you with an unforgettable experience of cultural exchange. They can also be an asset in helping you and your child in picking up a new language.
3. Hire a Language Tutor
Public schools don't tend to have many lessons in second language education in most states until the high school years, and even then, the selections are limited. Try to give your child the gift of learning with a more personal touch by hiring a tutor. A tutor provides a focused learning method with one-on-one interactions to help your child learn the words, grammar, and rules of a new language. A tutor can share material and learning resources and work with your child personally to advance their language training.
4. Learn Together
Another option may be a triple benefit of sorts. Make your learning experience a group activity to create a bond between parent and child and foster skills and communication in a second language. Make your learning experience an adventure and a fun activity. Learn new words together, pick up new books, and are committed to an entire course together. You'll get to ensure that your child learns a second language, and you get to learn for yourself, and perhaps best of all, you get to spend time together! For a comprehensive guide to finding the right language-learning software for you, check this guide.
5. Targeted Language Groups
Even the most brilliant teachers and professors agree that there's no better way to learn a language than through interaction with native speakers. Try to contact groups and friends who speak the language (for example, form a circle of Latino friends to learn Spanish). In many cases, you'll find that native speakers of various languages are more than happy to help you and your child learn the new language and sometimes are even flattered when you ask. By ensuring we interact with native speakers, we can understand the language most accurately and naturally, and we'll find that our children will be way ahead of us at this susceptible age as we continue to do so.
AyiConnect is a platform to connect families with helpers who have a language specialty in addition to care. You can engage with them directly through self-service or concierge service. Our concierge service can help busy families who don’t have time to search or need language assistance. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or download our app.