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Our Favourite Tips for Encouraging Children to Learn New Languages

Tinies Education Special: Languages are a great extracurricular activity for kids to take on, and will always be a useful skill to have! We asked the experts how best to encourage children in learning new languages


Being able to speak more than one language has always been an impressive skill, especially when you're a child! Now, with foreign language teaching being made compulsory for state-maintained primary schools under the English National Curriculum, there's never been a better time to get your children started on a new language.

The importance of learning languages

As foreign languages will become a part of all primary school teaching, it's important for parents to help support their children's education by extending their language learning beyond the classroom and into the home.

A recent UK survey by Rosetta Stone - which was founded on the belief that learning to speak a language should be a natural, instinctive process - revealed that 6 in 10 respondents think that languages are not given enough significance in education, with almost 75% of people admitting they regret not placing more importance on language learning when they were younger.

Creating a learning environment at home

To ensure children are prepared and encouraged to learn a foreign language, parents can create a language learning environment at home throughout the new academic year by using technology.

Encourage learning at home

"We believe getting children into languages at an early age can really help them understand different cultures and open the door to new opportunities when they're older," says Gustaf Nordbäck, a Managing Director at Rosetta Stone.

"Language skills are invaluable in today's global environment and we welcome the government's initiative. In this technology age, tools are available to parents to help children succeed in language learning."

By encouraging children to learn a new language, parents are helping them to:

  • Gain global curiosity. By using guessing games, songs and films parents can spark their child's interest in different languages and cultures
  • Nurture their brains. Bilingual children are often better at multi-tasking and focusing attention, can learn to read at a younger age, and generally find it easier to learn other languages
  • Create closer bonds. Learning a language together can be fun and can help to create a special bond between parents and children.

In light of the benefits to learning a new language, we asked Rosetta Stone for their tips on how best to get your children multi-lingual.

Helping your child learn a new language

Children are curious - inspire them

Play 'language guessing' on the street or visit a multilingual playgroup. Songs are also a good and fun way to open their ears to different sounds.

Anissa A. S., a German married to a Briton living in London, speaks only German to her daughter, but occasionally sings in Portuguese or Spanish: "I love the curious look on her face when I sing in a different language. She is so keen to sing along that it doesn't take long for her to join in."

Boost their brain

Consistency is a mustWhile a multilingual upbringing not only connects children to their heritage, it also boosts their brain development. Whether both parents speak their common language at home and English is then acquired from the community, or if you follow the 'one parent, one language' strategy, one of the key factors for success is to be consistent!

Learn together

Emma Martin, mother of two, who moved from England to Cyprus, knows that to support your child with a new language, it helps to study the language, too: "They see you are trying too and it helps them realise how well they are doing, rather than only ever comparing themselves to native speakers and feeling behind."

Engage - with patience

"Make it fun, allow them to be creative, and don't always correct them on the spot," is the advice of Barbara Cacao, an Austrian married to a Portuguese citizen living in London, who raises trilingual children. When children experience fun when using language, they will continue learning out of their own interest.

Show them the value

A language can create a special bond between you and your child. Travel blogger Alice Griffin is learning French: "My daughter loves to feel that she has learnt something valuable, and even if I spend all day saying 'c'est un chien,' I don't mind when I see the smile on her face."

More information

Stay engaged with language learning

Rosetta Stone provides interactive technology to help the world learn languages. The company's learning techniques are used by 20,000 educational institutions and over 9 million of learners around the world. You can find different language learning tips from Rosetta Stone on their #milestones blog.

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