Effective communication can open so many doors for your child. Of course, grasping concepts while learning is important, but communicating them effectively is important as well.
If learning a language effectively can help your child communicate and express themselves better, it is essential for your child’s growth. That’s why it is important to support and help your child if they have English as an Additional Language. Here are a few tips on how you can support your child who is studying English as an Additional Language (EAL):
- Learn the language yourself
If you can communicate effectively with your children in English, they can also grasp it better. Learning together is also a great way to spend more time with their kids and understand their learning patterns.
Also, by learning a new language, you’re setting an example for your child and helping them understand the benefits of speaking more than one language.
- Have conversations at home in English
Kids can naturally grasp concepts faster than adults. English conversation with kids in daily routine can help them learn the language faster at home. Or you can also have a certain amount of time every day dedicated to just speaking in English with your kid.
- Encourage them to talk in English
As a beginner, your child is going to find it hard to initiate conversations in English. That means you should keep them talking, which will help develop their speaking skills. Ask them questions about their work and their day to help them actively engage in a conversation.
- Don’t overcomplicate the language
This is important with beginners. Keep your sentences simple when your child is just beginning to learn English. Talk to them in short but clear sentences that are easy to understand, like ‘let’s do your homework,’ versus requests like ‘switch off the TV and do your homework.’ Complicating the language at the beginning might make sure children think they don’t understand it, and this might demotivate them.
- Storytime should be in English
If your child loves to read, or you’re helping them develop a reading habit by reading out books to them, then reading stories in English is a great way to learn the language. Most children won’t question the change in language; they’ll be more interested in the ritual of reading a bedtime story and plots involving their favourite characters. This will also help develop their imaginations.
Illustrated storybooks can be even more helpful since they are supported by visual clues, which can help your child learn new words.
- Visual aids
The use of visual aids can help your child extensively to learn a new language. For example, if your child knows very little English, making visual aid cards with objects and their English names or labelling everyday objects around your house with labels will help your child build an impressive English language vocabulary.
- Shower them with lots of praise
Children will respond positively and learn more quickly if you praise them for speaking English properly. Use positive reinforcement when your child is attempting to learn something new, especially a new language. If they’re attempting to use the new language and converse with you in it, praise them for it. This will boost their confidence and encourage them to keep learning.
- Use fun learning tools
Trying to make your child learn anything, especially a daunting new language, can be overwhelming with the traditional learning methods. Instead, try to use different learning methods on your child. For example, make them listen to English language radio, watch English shows for kids, and play fun word games like simple crosswords to keep them engaged and interested in the language.
You can even use technological tools — there are many interactive games and platforms out there that can also help your child learn English.
These tips can help you teach your child English as a second language in a fun way, which is not taxing or overwhelming for them. With these tips, your child will be an expert in English in no time!
Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at PlanetSpark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on "New Age Skills" like, English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc. She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!