A child learns differently to an adult – almost in an incidental way. From the cradle, a child doesn’t sit down to learn the grammar of a language. He gets taught things on an ongoing basis – in a kind of need-to-know manner. A learning programme for a child should, thus, essentially have a more easy-going, fun element about it, as opposed to one designed for an adult, which of necessity has to be far more structured.

The goal, of course, is to keep the learner interested and engaged.

You don’t want to lose them because the programme is too rigid!

Below follows some advice on how to teach a child Afrikaans.

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Make the Learning of Afrikaans Fun

The younger the child starts to learn a new language the better. This is because the child’s brain hasn’t wired itself into one particular way of making sense of language yet, and so, in essence, the brain is a clean slate on which almost any language can be written. The young child is, thus, able to learn a new language fairly quickly! However, keeping the child interested is an important first hurdle to overcome.

Learning Afrikaans, or any new language, can help a young learner later on in life, in personal and professional settings. They will be able to interact fluently with native speakers at work, in social settings or when travelling.

The methods that you use have to be carefully selected to encourage rapid learning. The correct approach is of the utmost importance, as, although you may have fantastic teaching methods, if your approach is wrong, you may drive them away from learning Afrikaans at all.

Learning While Having Fun Must Be the Focus!

If the adult teacher takes the time to make learning activities fun and engaging, children (learners) may be emboldened to participate and to take risks. Because the experience is enjoyable, it becomes memorable and the learner may retain the information better.

Honestly, who really loves learning grammar, vocabulary or spelling? If, however, you are having fun while learning Afrikaans, you won’t mind that you’re learning spelling rules, the guttural G or practising listening skills and pronunciation.

For the teacher or guide, this may demand a lot from you, in terms of preparation, but the outcome is all-important – keeping your leaner interested and, possibly, excited about learning Afrikaans. Ensure that you keep their interest piqued so that they don’t start to resent Afrikaans lessons.

When they reach that point, it will be difficult to turn them around. If you want to hold their interest, you must be careful as to how you mix work and play and ensure that your teaching is child-centred!

young family playing on tablet
Use technology and games to make learning Afrikaans fun. - Source: Pexels

Remember: adults were once children too! Although we grow older, we still hold onto a slice of our childhood. Having fun while learning, thus, is enjoyed by adults too.

Afrikaans Cartoons for Kids

Most of us grew up watching cartoons and loving them. Today’s kids are no different in that regard. Allowing young learners to watch cartoons in Afrikaans, is wonderful as a listening exercise. This helps to fill the gap where parents can’t always devote the time to speak Afrikaans to their child to kick-start their learning programme every day. This activity will aid them to expand their vocabulary in untold ways. In today’s technological age, there are numerous Afrikaans cartoons available online so that your little darling can continue learning Afrikaans in an unforced, fun way.

While English learners have the likes of Dora the Explorer to teach and entertain them, learners of Afrikaans also have a number of well-liked cartoons to choose from.

There are quite a number of Afrikaans cartoons that can entertain and help advance your child’s Afrikaans comprehension and contribute to his or her enjoyment of the language at the same time. Cartoons are a medium to which kids are particularly attracted and they will have the benefit of being in unobtrusive educator. It is not important that you child doesn’t understand everything. That will come in time. Exposure and enjoyment are the important elements here.

Kids will love some of the cartoons of yesteryear, including Liewe Heksie, Wielie Walie, Brakenjan, Moomin and Heidi. These cartoons also have lovely sing-along tunes which children will love. You’ll soon hear these being sung in your home and car. They’ll be learning, without being conscious of it … and enjoying the experience! Great if Mom and Dad joined in too. Road-trips would pass by in the blink of an eye!

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Ariane
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4.7 (13 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Trisha
5
5 (6 review/s)
Trisha
R50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mariena
5
5 (9 review/s)
Mariena
R190
/h
Gift icon
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Lizemari
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Lizemari
R250
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Jennika
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5 (7 review/s)
Jennika
R200
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1st lesson free!
Zanelle
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Zanelle
R150
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Jana
5
5 (13 review/s)
Jana
R300
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ariane
4.7
4.7 (13 review/s)
Ariane
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Trisha
5
5 (6 review/s)
Trisha
R50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mariena
5
5 (9 review/s)
Mariena
R190
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lizemari
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5 (4 review/s)
Lizemari
R250
/h
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1st lesson free!
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/h
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Jennika
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5 (7 review/s)
Jennika
R200
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5 (2 review/s)
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Afrikaans Songs for Kids

“I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” – Plato

A wonderful extension of Afrikaans lessons is the learning of Afrikaans songs and recitations, which will help to make them comfortable hearing themselves speak this ‘foreign language’.

Nowadays, it’s so easy to find resources like songs and rhymes as the Internet is peppered with sites where you can locate resources to please children, no matter their ages. YouTube and also physical stores, are also places to visit in your quest for suitable resources. It would be an added advantage if your child can already read, as he or she can follow the lyrics which appear on the screen along with the rhymes and songs.

The child doesn’t only have to listen to nursery rhymes. They can sing along to their favourite ones, just like any regular, native Afrikaans-speaker would. They would soon know the songs and rhymes by heart, having learned them in a fun, relaxing way and would have been practising their pronunciation at the same time. Let them sing – understanding will follow!

Afrikaans Stories for Kids

You, the parent of an Afrikaans-learner, will not have a hard task to track down fun and handsomely-illustrated books to provide enjoyment of Afrikaans and foster your child’s learning. Some books also have an accompanying CD (way back it used to be a cassette tape). Your child's senses will be stimulated in at least three ways. He or she will experience the story through pictures, words and audio.

A literate learner can follow the story him- or herself and be guided by the CD. Regular playing of these stories will teach him or her how to pronounce Afrikaans words. You can also use these Afrikaans children’s books to aid your learning, if you’re also in the process of learning Afrikaans.

Speaking Afrikaans to Kids

Ideally, you should speak Afrikaans to your child daily from an early age. This would give you stacks of opportunities to consolidate very basic concepts like the Afrikaans terms for basic objects like bed, door, toothbrush, face-cloth and the like. You would also be in a position to fix his or her incorrect use of grammar on a daily basis.

However, what do you do when you are not very well-versed in Afrikaans yourself and it’s not your native language?

Start as early as you can and try to incorporate Afrikaans in your daily routine, ensuring that you expand their vocabulary daily. Do some research on the Internet, where you can test your language production and listen to the correct pronunciation of any words or phrases that you’re unsure of. It may assist tremendously if you make the effort to help him or her learn how to pronounce Afrikaans words, as the interaction may be less stressful when compared to having to hear words and repeat them in a strange environment to a strange person.

girl and boy learning together
Find a language buddy to help your child learn to speak Afrikaans in an informal setting. - Source: Pexels

Young children will benefit from your input later on, as it won’t be the first time that they would have encountered the language. More parents should accept this as a responsibility towards their child, because children have to offer a second language as from grade 1 in South Africa. That language may as well be Afrikaans, which many regard as an easy language to learn.

Question and answer sessions may be helpful, as replies can, initially, be kept to single words or short phrases. Try to make it fun, which will keep up their enthusiasm and speed up their progress.

You don’t have to enjoy an advanced level of competence in Afrikaans to interact with young learners. This means that anyone can do it!

It is vital, however, that you are able to convey that learning to speak Afrikaans is important. If your children can sense that, they may make it a part of themselves and continue pursuing it way into the future.

Afrikaans Activities for Kids Online

Online there are a large number of sites that can support learners in their pursuit of learning Afrikaans, as well as interactive and colourful games.

Children will also love the mobile apps (e.g. ABC Kinder Pret in Afrikaans)which can help advance their vocabulary and grammar skills. This is a great medium that kids love to engage with. Your responsibility would be to make the technology (cell-phone or tablet) available to them and ensure that they are not over-exposed to it.

Private Afrikaans Lessons for Kids

Engaging the services of a tutor may be a good idea, especially if you do not have the time or expertise to support your child adequately. Little ones may do better in small group sessions, whereas a tutor can support children after the ages of four or five. All in all, expert, focused guidance will see your little munchkin progressing in leaps and bounds.

The learning of an additional language holds numerous benefits for anyone, adult or child. Why not get started today! You and your child will experience the world in a whole new way! Roer jou!

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.