Teach Your Child A New Language in 5 Simple Steps

Teaching your child a new language doesn’t have to be difficult.
I’m going to show you how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps.  Although children can easily learn multiple languages, oftentimes we aren’t sure how to teach them. However, helping your child learn a new language is easier than you think.  Let’s take a look.

1. Listening to Music

Baby Listening to Music

Exposing your child to music is one of the simplest ways you can introduce them to a new language.  As we know, children learn by seeing, listening, and interacting.  When you play music in another language, your child will become familiar with the rhythm of the language. Listening to music will introduce them to new vocabulary, pitch, inflection, and the nuances of the language they are learning.

When I was trying to teach my children Spanish, I played a lot of Spanish music for them.  The simple songs were very catchy and encouraged my children to sing along.  Even if they didn’t understand the songs at first, they were developing essential skills for future communication. Hearing and repeating Spanish songs will help your child become a natural in the language.  If you want to help your child learn a new language, play music for them as often as you can.  It’s all about creating an environment for learning.  Playing music is one simple way you can set the stage for your child’s journey in language learning.

2. Watching Videos/Programs

MonkiSee "Todo Sobre Mi"

If you want to know how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps, pay close attention to this one.  Having my children watch videos or TV programs in another language is one of my favorite ways to teach them a new language.  I highly recommend finding some good DVDs or shows they can watch.  I love using videos because it incorporates two forms of learning – seeing and listening.  While music is great, videos can give your child a visual representation of the words they are hearing.  It’s great for parents too.  While you might not understand songs, a video makes it clear and allows you to learn right along with your child.  I’ve just released my first baby Spanish video, “Todo Sobre Mi.”  This is perfect for introducing your child to familiar first words and body parts in Spanish.

3. Reading Books

Reading Book to Baby

We know that reading to children is extremely beneficial, and reading them books in a foreign language is just another way to increase the benefits from books.  When children read books in a foreign language, they become acquainted with the structure of the language.  Seeing individual words is quite different from reading full sentences.  Look for simple picture books that you and your child will enjoy reading together.  You may want to practice reading the book first so your pronunciation is correct.

Look for translations of popular kids’ books, nursery rhymes, and bilingual books.  I appreciate the bilingual books since I can read it in another language yet still understand the story.

* If you find it difficult to read to your child in a foreign language, see if your library offers a story time in Spanish, French, or whatever the language may be.  You could also download Ebooks in another language.  Some Ebooks have an audio option and will read to you.

4. Viewing Flashcards

Baby with Flashcards

Flashcards have always been a favorite of mine.  They are quick, fun, interactive, and effective. Out of the five steps listed in how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps, this is one of the easiest.  Whether you purchase flashcards or create your own, start showing your baby flashcards about 3 times each day.

You might choose 10-15 words to quickly flip through when they wake up, after a diaper change, during bath time, or whenever is convenient for you. It should only take you about 30 seconds per session to review the flashcards.

Another way you can utilize your flashcards is by taping them up around the house.  I used to have flashcards all over the place when I was trying to teach my children Spanish.  I would have them on the fridge, chairs, light switches, dressers, and wherever else I could place them.  When I’d walk around the house I’d show my baby the word and say it to them a couple times.

Flashcards are great because they are so versatile.  Not only can you use them as review cards, but they’re also great for playing cards.  My kids loved playing Spanish matching games with our flashcards.  No matter how you use them, find what works best for you and start incorporating flashcards into your daily routine.

5. Conversing with Others

Mom and Baby

We’ve reached our final and maybe most important step in how to teach your child a new language in 5 simple steps.  Conversation.  If your child does not view flashcards, or listen to music, or read books, or watch TV, they can still learn a new language simply by conversing with others.  If your child is constantly spoken to and engaged with those who speak another language, he will learn to speak it as well.  I have witnessed this occurrence time and time again. Conversation is key to a language transformation.

I must admit that none of my children speak Spanish.  Although I showed them flashcards, and read them books, and did all I could, I don’t speak Spanish.  My efforts have not been a waste. They know some Spanish and it has blessed them in other areas, but they are not fluent Spanish-speakers.  Why?  They were rarely spoken to in Spanish.

This is why I encourage you to find someone to talk to your child in a foreign language.  If your child is consistently hearing the language spoken and being “forced” in a sense to respond, they will grasp it.  Perhaps you can take them to a class, or hire a babysitter to watch them for part of the day, or visit friends and family that speak the language.  Do whatever you can to allow them to communicate and interact with those who speak the language you want them to learn.

Remember that consistency is key in all that you do.  Your baby can learn quickly and effortlessly, so optimize on this amazing period of time and give your child the gift of language. You can easily teach them a new language, all it requires is a bit of dedication.  I hope you found these 5 steps helpful, and I would love to hear about your ideas for teaching children language. Would you take a moment to comment below and let me know what language you want your child to learn?  Are you already teaching your child a foreign language? What methods do you like to use? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so don’t forget to share your ideas in the Comments below!

Sing Alongs

If your baby has a favorite song, you can easily turn it into a sing along.  By doing this, you will show your baby all or some of the words while you sing it.  You can do this through your computer using a program like Power Point to type the words to your song.  You can also do this by using sentence strips.  These are available at office supply stores and come in packs of 100 for under $5.00.  You can begin with just the chorus if you like.  You can stick the words up on your refrigerator with some magnets and when you and your baby sing, point to each word.   Who says that babies are too young for Karaoke?

ABC Hide and Go Seek

If you have some magnetic letters, you can play ABC Hide and Seek.  It is easy to play and fun to do.  This is a great way to teach your baby the names and sounds of the letters.  All you have to do is get out the letters and put them on your refrigerator in random order.  Start with the letter A.  Introduce your baby to the capital and lowercase letters and tell them that these two letters are the letter A.  Tell your baby that the letter A says “a” for apple.  Once you have shown these letters to your baby, tell your child that you are going to hide the letters and your child will need to find them.  Just place the letters among the other letters and see if your child can pick them out.  The first time you do this, your baby may need some assistance finding the letters. Whenever your baby correctly identifies a letter, congratulate them and tell them this is “aaa” for apple.

You can play this several times throughout the day while you are in the kitchen.  You can hide the letters while you are cooking and you can oversee your baby and help them out if they are having trouble.  You can move on to a different letter whenever you feel your baby has mastered a letter.  Each time you introduce a new letter, make sure you review the letters you have already learned.  
Once your baby has mastered a few consonants and vowels, you can make words and show your baby how the sounds blend to form words.  Yesterday I introduced my 2 year old to the letter A and today we are learning M.  I put together the two letters and showed her how they are sounded out to make the word am.  As we learn more letters, we will be able to make a lot more short words.  So far, she loves it and asks to play again and again.

Use Word Cards to Tell a Story

A fun way to incorporate new word cards into your baby’s daily routine is to tell a story.  Choose a few word cards and make up a story around them.  As you say the word on one of the cards, show it to your baby, or have your baby hold up the card each time the word is said.  This will be a lot of fun for your little one and will reinforce the new words that you are teaching.  This may quickly become a favorite activity for your baby, so beware.

Teach Your Baby to Read at the Touch of a Button

If you want to start teaching your baby to read, the simplest and easiest way to get started is to purchase some videos that teach babies to read.  By having your baby watch a reading video each day, you will begin to establish a routine.  Once you have gotten into the groove of having your baby watch some reading videos, you may want to add in some flash cards.  Your baby will understand that you are showing them words, since they have been seeing them on the television screen now for a period of time.  It is very easy to begin using flash cards once you have been using reading videos.  You can watch a sample of Monki See Monki Doo if you click here.

Teach Your Baby Right and Left with the Hokey Pokey

Babies love music.  They love to be sung to.  They love to sing once they are old enough to do so.  How about teaching your baby to do the Hokey Pokey.  This is a great teaching song.  You can place your baby’s right hand in and then out.  You can place your baby’s left hand in and then out.  You can continue on with different body parts.  Your baby will learn to identify their body parts as well as being able to differentiate between right and left.  This is a fun song that should not be reserved for just older children.

Letter of the Week

Get some magnetic letters and teach your baby a letter each week.  You can start at the beginning and choose the letter a.  Introduce the letters as capital and lowercase, so your child knows the difference.  Then spend a moment each day creating words that start with the letter a.  When you begin this, you should start with words that have the short a sound.  You can show your baby words like ant, apple, ax, etc…  Once you have shown your baby the letter a and words, move on to a new letter.  Your baby will naturally learn phonics in this manner, without formal lessons.

Scripture Memorization For Children

Since children have the ability to easily memorize a multitude of things before their fifth birthdays, parents can teach their children scripture memorization with little effort.  Children will memorize all sorts of things.  This is the way they are designed to learn.  Children learn nursery rhymes, the words to their favorite songs and even commit entire books to their memory.  Because young children have this ability and will fill their brains with something, we can direct what they learn.

For Christian parents, this can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. All that is required is to choose a favorite passage of scripture and read it to your child about once a day.  You can make this part of your bedtime routine.  I think you will be amazed at how quickly your child will begin to fill in the words.  Go ahead and teach them the chapter and verse as well, since this isn’t any more difficult for them to learn.
You can even tape a verse of scripture to the refrigerator and say it before meals.  Your child will be able to learn a verse a week, with no trouble at all.  Who knows, you might even learn some scriptures too. Just be sure to review the previously learned scriptures once a week or so.  This will assure that they are not quickly forgotten.

Play a Rhyming Game

Get out your magnetic letters or some alphabet blocks and start playing a rhyming game with your baby.  You will be teaching your baby many things with this simple letter game.  You will be exposing your baby to the patterns of our auditory language as well as the patterns visually.  Your baby will take notice of the fact that only the first letter is changing when you create a new word.  Your baby will be paying attention to the sounds those new letters make and how they affect the part of the word that doesn’t change.  You can start off with simple words like wall, ball, fall, call, mall, tall, small, stall, etc…  You can even have your baby get involved by handing you letters to make the change to the word.  This is a very fun, interactive way to teach your baby more about language and its phonetic patterns.  Babies are always learning. With just a little stimulation they may surprise you as to what they discover. 

Teach United States Geography with Music

When you begin teaching your baby to read, your mind may be overflowing with ideas of all the things you can teach your baby.  There is no limit to what your baby can learn.  I have found that babies really enjoy learning geography.  You can accomplish this easily by getting a United States puzzle and building it with your baby.  As you lay each piece, just point to the name of the state and tell your baby the capital and before you know it, your baby will be able to name all 50 US States and capitals, as well as read each one.

If you would like to make it even more fun you can play music that teaches the states and capitals as you sing along.  I have used this with my older children to teach geography.  I quickly discovered that my one year old soon knew all the states and capitals as well.  The song we like is “The 50 States and Capitals Song” by Musical Recall.  There entire CD teaches things like the US Presidents, The Continents Song, and 7 Days a Week.  You can listen to a sample of it here at Musical Recall Samples.  I recently posted a video entry called “Smarty Pants Dance”.  It shows a little girl, about 18 months old, pointing out the states for her daddy.