Teaching Kids a Language with ONE HOUR PER DAY
Want to know how you can teach kids a language in just one hour per day? Read on!
Most of the research tells us that if we want our kids to be bilingual, they need to be exposed to the language around 30% of their wake time. In THIS ARTICLE we spoke about how it isn’t always the case, and that the most important thing was not how much time you have, but how that time is spent.
Unless you are following OPOL (One Person One Language) and either parent speaks a different language, or you speak a different language at home to the community, you may not have a lot of time to give that much language exposure.
Here we are going to talk about how you can teach your kids a language with one hour per day.
8 Tips on How Teach Kids a Language with One Hour Per Day
This isn’t some magic trick to make your kids bilingual overnight. Learning a language requires a balance of good resources and exposure to the language, but also the chance to practice it on a regular basis too.
There could be various reasons why you have one hour per day.
It could be that one parent works late so can only spend a short amount of time with the kids per day. It could be that you have a babysitter or tutor coming to teach the kids.
It could be that you want to introduce your second language to your kids, and are using the Time and Place approach.
It could be that you are learning a new language together as a family.
For whatever reason, these tips can help.
Remember, with an hour a day, the language learning process may take longer than if kids are exposed all day every day. So, it is important to be patient and make the most of the time they do have.
1. Set reasonable goals
The first thing you should think about are your goals. What are you looking to achieve by learning a new language?
Is it to communicate with friends or family?
Is it to travel? Is it a hobby?
Are you a parent trying to pass on another language to your kids?
It is also worth thinking about how fluent you want your child to become in the language.
Is conversational enough?
Or is complete fluency your end goal?
When you know your goal, then the process becomes somewhat easier because you know what you want to get out of it, and you are more likely to put in the work.
2. Make a plan and stick to it
You need to have a plan each language lesson, you can’t just wing it with only an hour.
Decide what topic the lesson will be on, what will you focus on. Are you going to follow a language course, have you come up with your own lesson ideas?
Your plan will need to be linked to your goal and which vocabulary to choose to start with. Think of the most important things you will need to know to achieve your goals and start with those first.
3. Use a Time or a Place
The Time and Place approach to language learning is popular when learning a second language that isn’t spoken on a regular basis. It is pretty much selecting a time or a place where the language learning will occur.
Perhaps it will be an hour every afternoon, or an hour per night. Perhaps you have a special language corner, or somewhere you go to have language lessons.
Try to stick to the time or place you choose as it will be much easier when you are being consistent.
4. Stock up on resources
The resources you need will depend on your language goals and your plan.
If you are a parent who speaks the language and your kids are young, it could be as simple as talking, singing, reading and playing to your kids in the language for an hour. In this case you will need music and books, and perhaps some games and activities.
If you are learning a language with your kids, or teaching them a language you aren’t completely fluent in, you may need some type of curriculum depending on their ages.
In any case, some essential items I recommend are: Story books, flashcards, posters etc. Almost anything you need can be found on AMAZON.
5. Take advantage of screen time
Unless the screen time is interactive, I recommend using screen time outside of your one hour per day. This is great for extra exposure to the lesson.
Put on some cartoons or a movie in the target language after you have had your lesson. Use language apps or other media.
6. Find places to practice
Once you have had your one hour per day, another great addition is finding extra ways to practice the language. A cartoon or movie is passive, so while they will get some extra exposure, they won’t actually be using the language.
Do you know anyone who speaks the language who you can visit or video call?
Are there any mothers’ groups or play groups in the area where you can find playdates?
If there is nobody your kids can practice with, interactive apps are great, as well as audio books where kids can read along with the story while it is played aloud. They can do either of these independently so it will be an extra add on to your one hour per day.
7. Be consistent
One of the most important things with learning a language is being consistent, especially when it isn’t your native language that you are teaching.
Set your goals, make a plan, and stick with it day in and day out. Get everyone in the family on board. If you miss a day, pick it up again the next day.
Make it a priority. Create incentives if you have to!
8. Don’t give up
The first few days, and even the first few weeks won’t be easy. You will all need to get used to, and settle into your new routine.
Everything is new, so some kids may be reluctant to learn. Keep it fun and ease into it. As you move along it becomes easier.
Remember, language learning is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t happen overnight. With an hour a day, it can take months to see progress, and years to become completely fluent if that is your end goal. But the more you put in, the more you are going to get out of it. The key is to stay motivated and don’t give up.