It goes without saying that it is important to follow an educational program and learn English at school. But learning English is something that should not only happen inside a classroom or on an online platform. It’s always great to go a step further.
Today with Babysits, we outline the importance of family members and caregivers’ involvement in the process of learning English for children.
Why is it so important to learn English at an early age?
There are many reasons, but did you know that bilingual children find it easier to learn new languages? A study from Haifa University confirms this fact. This is due to the fact that they are already familiar with two different language structures, which makes it so much easier to incorporate another new language. The skills required for learning a language have already been developed, and therefore introducing a third one is a much smoother process for them.
If children can learn English from an early age, they will be able to learn other languages throughout their lives. This will certainly prepare them for an increasingly connected world in which communication is key.
Learning English helps to improve cognitive development, academic performance and problem solving.
Why should families and caregivers be involved?
Family members and caregivers are key to a child’s behavior. The little ones learn how to behave by observing the world around them, and by imitating what they see. Therefore, in order for children to want to learn English, people around them also have to demonstrate a certain eagerness to learn the language (they may already speak it). Just like how parents should provide a good example to motivate kids to learn how to read, they should also provide a good example to motivate them to learn English.
If there’s an English-speaking environment at home created by parents or caregivers, a child will easily get used to using it as a second language and will learn it naturally.
Tips for families and caregivers
How can we help children learn English at home?
There are many things that both families and babysitters can do to get your child to learn English at home. Here are a few tips:
- Watch movies/ TV series together in English. This is certainly not the first time you´ve come across something like this. And no wonder, because it is one of the most effective – and simple- methods to facilitate the learning process. Listening to the language will help to internalize it within the child, this will make it a regular activity and the child will get used to hearing it.
- Show them the usefulness of language. There is no better way to motivate a child than to show them the impact of what they are learning. If they think it is useless, they will not show any interest. Finding a way to show the practicality of English is crucial if we want children to be excited about learning. This can be done in many ways: by traveling, or communicating with other children who do not speak their own language, or even by looking for a pen pal: yes, that’s correct, a pen pal.
- Don’t force it. We know it can be frustrating when a child does not want to learn English, but forcing them will only make it worse and make them lose interest for good. They will get angry, and won’t want to learn anymore. At this point, it is hard to convince them to ever enjoy it again. The most important thing is that if they do not want to learn, do not force them to do so. It is certain that at some point, especially if we apply the above tips, they will show an interest in English again.
Learning English should be entertaining for children. By making an educational process a fun, play-based learning activity, children will engage and immerse themselves in the activity.
“A good option is to start with games in English and let the children know that ‘we will play and learn together.’ Over time, this game can grow into something more, and at some point you will say: ‘This is quite fun, let’s play this English game more often!’. But it is important to take small steps,”says Novakid’s CEO Max Axarov.
Where to find caregivers who can speak English?
Babysits is the solution. It is a platform that connects families with child care providers, and it has many English-speaking babysitters. It’s easy to use: you can filter out the list and find those that know how to speak English. To find out more information visit the website.