As the world becomes more connected, parents everywhere are learning the importance of language education for their children. Even though English is a widely-spoken language, it’s becoming more and more important to break down language barriers and raise bilingual children.
That’s why there has been a resurgence in French as a second language. It’s one of the most spoken languages in the world and has a huge number of benefits for learners. So now the question remains:
How do I get my kids to learn French?
Well in this article, we’ll be going over all the benefits of learning French for kids. Plus, we’ll figure out 7 easy ways you can get started!
Why Learn French?
Language education for kids is so important these days. In fact, the hardest question isn’t whether you should teach your child a second language, but rather – which one?
Whether you’re aiming towards more practical reasons or you’re simply leaning towards the language of love, here are a few benefits to learning French.
Widely Spoken Language
Currently French is the 5th most commonly spoken language in the world. Spoken in nearly every continent, there are huge practical reasons for teaching your child French.
For both business and tourism, French is a well-respected language with a huge number of native speakers. And if your child already speaks English – with French under their belt, they’ll be ready to speak to nearly half the planet!
Tons of Online Resources
Another great reason to learn French is that the language is so accessible! There are tons of free online resources to help your child learn.
From TV shows to worksheets, it’s a simple task to hunt down some high-quality content that will have your child learning in no time. Compared to some other languages, it’s incredibly easy to find learning materials in French.
Improves English Language Skills
Last, but not least – learning French is proven to improve your child’s understanding of English! Learning a second language can actually reinforce their knowledge of their native language. They’ll become better speakers, writers, and will have an easier time learning a third language in the future.
Plus, even though French is a romance language, it has a lot in common with English. Us English speakers took a lot of vocabulary from French, so you might be surprised how easy it is to learn vocabulary.
Simple, accessible, and a great language to learn!
7 Ways To Get Started Teaching Your Child French
Now that you’re hooked on the benefits of learning French for kids, it’s time to move on to the next big question: How?
Of course, there are tons of ways to learn languages these days. But here are our top 7 methods to start teaching your child French.
In today’s digital world, there are tons of language learning apps available. And when you’re just starting out, choosing a free app is a great way to stoke your child’s interest in the language.
While an adult might have the willpower and dedication to stick through a rigorous classroom setting, children often need something more engaging.
And luckily, most mobile apps have a gamification style of teaching to keep your child interested and motivated. Apps like Busuu, Memrise, and Duolingo are some of the most well-known apps to get your kids started.
They’ll start to learn basic grammar and vocabulary words in an easy-to-use interface. Even the paid apps will have free trials so you can see if your child is interested before making any investments in the program. Although with these interactive programs, it’s pretty likely they’ll be begging to keep learning French.
So you can download these apps straight onto your tablet and turn playtime into class time.
2.TV and Movies
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to teach your child a language is through TV shows and movies in that target language.
So if you want your child to master the French language, using French TV shows is an excellent resource. You can adapt the media to your child’s age and find something that keeps them interested while they’re learning.
The key here is to keep everything in French. If your child is younger than 6, just put the show in French with no subtitles, and you’ll be surprised how quickly they start to catch on.
And if your kids are a bit older, then put the subtitles in French to help them follow along. Sure, it might be a bit difficult at first, but kids learn so quickly.
Watching TV shows and movies is a great way to help your child master French pronunciation and start to learn how the language is used naturally. While apps are great for practicing the basics – they’re not always the most authentic source of the language.
Having your child watch authentic media in French is a fantastic way to have them learn real French and make it an enjoyable process.
3.Join a Group
While you might not have thought of this beforehand – consider joining a local parent’s club. You’re likely not the only parent in your area that wants to teach French to your child.
So do some quick Google or Facebook searches and find forward-thinking parents like yourselves that want to help the next generation improve their language skills. Your child can make friends and practice with other kids who are in the same situation.
Likewise, you might be able to find exchange programs. In these programs, you’ll find parents who want their French-speaking child to learn English. So by participating in these exchange programs, you can help your child learn French and at the same time help another child learn English.
It’s like that saying goes – It takes a village to raise a child. Or in this case, it takes a village to learn a language!
Now we’re going back to some more traditional, but proven methods. Reading is by far one of the most effective – but undervalued – ways of learning a language.
Even if your child is still in the picturebook stage, they can learn basic French words and sentence structures. Or if your child is a bit older, you can use simple books to get them started on the language.
There are tons of amazing French resources that your child can use to practice their reading skills. Plus, now is your opportunity to have your child read the classic Le Petit Prince in the original language!
If your child is a bit older, private online classes might be a great option for them. These days you can find online teachers who do a great job at working with kids through distance education.
Websites like Italki make it easy to find French teachers to help your child master a second language – and make it work with your schedule.
It’s probably a good idea to do this after already introducing the language to your child. Once they start getting a basic understanding of the language, you can hire a language teacher to have them break out of their shell and start prac
If you have the time, setting up a traditional homeschooling-style lesson plan is a great idea. You can create a structured system to teach your child French and make sure they work on their language skills on a consistent basis.
You don’t need to be a master at the language, but for this, it would help if you had a basic understanding of it. This way you can help them complete worksheets, do practice activities and have basic speaking practice.
This is absolutely the most difficult option on the list for parents, but it’s also the most hands-on. So if you’re the type of parent that likes to have a very active role in your child’s education, this is a great opportunity.
Plus, you’ll be able to practice YOUR French skills, too!
7.Songs and Games
Lastly, any list of language-learning tips wouldn’t be complete without talking about the power of music and games.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest facts to consider is your child’s motivation and engagement with the language. You want your child to have a positive attitude and actually want to learn French. Otherwise, it’s just a chore for them and they’ll stop whenever they have the chance.
So by exploring French music and playing games in French, they’ll see how fun it is to learn the language. And with the music, they’ll learn a bit of culture along the way and slowly start immersing themselves in the language.
And don’t worry if they don’t automatically start understanding the songs! The important thing is that they slowly start learning the sounds, begin to make the words become automatic in the head, and end up enjoying the process.
That’s it! There are tons of benefits of learning French for kids, but this article just scraped the surface.
Whether you want to start to introduce your toddler to a second language or you want an older kid to begin looking at other linguistic paths, French is always a great option to explore.
So if you’re ready to start having your child learn French, make sure to follow these 7 strategies and have fun.
Learning a language is a lifelong process, so don’t forget to enjoy it!