Myth: If it’s hard for me to learn a foreign language, it’s going to be far more difficult for my young child.

Fact: It is far more difficult for an adult to learn a new language as opposed to a child.

Children’s brains are not yet as wired in a particular way, as are adults. Theirs are clean slates on which virtually anything (think language) can be written. The earlier a child starts, the better.

You don’t speak Afrikaans well, but would like your child to. No problem.

Here are some tips for you to help your child learn Afrikaans.

The best Afrikaans tutors available
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Jana
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5 (13 review/s)
Jana
R300
/h
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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
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1st lesson free!
Mariena
5
5 (9 review/s)
Mariena
R190
/h
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Lizemari
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Lizemari
R250
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Is There a Particular Age That a Child Should Speak Afrikaans?

In South Africa, children have to offer a second language at school. In essence, it would be brilliant if you child could start Afrikaans lessons way before he or she starts school. Your child would really be in the pound seat if he or she started Afrikaans lessons before the age of five. Regardless, get them started as soon as you can!

Learning a language and gaining fluency in it takes time … lots of time.

Think of your or your child’s growth in his or her mother tongue. Consider it a life-long expedition and realise that results will not be instantaneous!

Young learners will benefit in a number of ways from learning a new language:

  • Enhanced listening, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills,
  • Improved concentration, memory and being able to multi-task,
  • Enhanced mental flexibility and creativity,
  • A more expansive world view,
  • Greater sensitivity towards other cultures,
  • Being able to learn other languages is enhanced,
  • An advantage when seeking employment.

Afrikaans Lessons for Kids

There is not only one way to teach Afrikaans as a second language. Each teacher, tutor or parent has to find what works best for them and the learner in the care.

  • Try to build an element of fun into the learning process. If the child is encountering Afrikaans for the first time, it is important the he or she is eased into it. There is no need to rush it! Language acquisition is not an overnight thing. Making it fun, will have to relieve the tension they’re obviously experiencing.

A wonderful way to start developing their listening, comprehension and speaking skills is to get children to learn recitations or to sing along to popular kiddie songs, like Jan Pierewiet (available on YouTube). Singing the Afrikaans alphabet is another great, fun activity which will give your son or daughter the opportunity to show off his or her Afrikaans pronunciation.

If your child is a primary school learner, play memory games with him or her, using pictures and flashcards.

close up of letters of the alphabet
Use educational games to help improve your child's Afrikaans. - Source: Unsplash

What a child has to learn in Afrikaans is the same as what an adult has to. Both have to adapt to listening to Afrikaans, extend their vocabulary and learn its grammar. The important difference is that, for the child, the learning experience must be so much fun that he or she doesn’t even realise that he or she is actually working.

Afrikaans Kiddies Movies and Series

Everybody growing up in good old SA, during the 70’s or 80’s remembers watching and singing along to Heidi and Liewe Heksie or repeating their favourite lines from Karel Kraai or Bennie Boekwurm. Now it’s time to share these classics with your off-spring!

Afrikaans Kiddie Songs

Afrikaans also has a number of wonderful little rhyming songs which young learners will enjoy. Several, such as, Aai, Aai die Witborskraai, Swart Skaap, Swart Skaap and Vader Jakob have reached near classic status amongst Afrikaans-speakers. It would be great for you to sing along and make the activity a more relaxed and fun activity for your little one. How lovely to have Mom or Dad singing along and taking their little one’s mind off the fact that he or she is learning!

To keep the mood light, check out the Internet for activities and, even, musical games, that may teach your little darling Afrikaans and music, all in one go!

The best Afrikaans tutors available
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
5
5 (4 review/s)
Lizemari
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Monet
Monet
R152
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jennika
5
5 (7 review/s)
Jennika
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Zanelle
5
5 (2 review/s)
Zanelle
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
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
5
5 (4 review/s)
Lizemari
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Monet
Monet
R152
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jennika
5
5 (7 review/s)
Jennika
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Zanelle
5
5 (2 review/s)
Zanelle
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Afrikaans Stories for Kids

There are still people today who prefer a book in hard copy form as opposed to reading it on a tablet or on a Kindle. Printed texts, some say, still has a special allure and allows for greater absorption and remembering of content. Young learners will be immersed in a different and deeper level when they read stories which are presented in book form. Against the backdrop of computers, smartphones and tablets, a printed book can offer a child many of hours of entertainment while they are also learning.

Online Afrikaans Activities for Kids

Your Afrikaans lessons don’t have to cost an arm or a leg. There are numerous resources on the Internet which are available at no charge. Many Afrikaans language sites have a presence, not only as websites, but also on YouTube, where your child’s learning can progress at his or her pace, as videos can be viewed as many times necessary.

There are also several apps which can be downloaded from the Google Playstore, including Learn Afrikaans Free, ABC Kinder Pret in Afrikaans and Free 500+ Afrikaans Flitskaarte (Flash cards). The latter app assists your child to improve his or her pronunciation and vocabulary. These apps are a wonderful resource as they a great companion at home, on a plane or train, or even in a restaurant. Your child’s learning will have no boundaries! Also, the learning is presented in a format all children gravitate towards nowadays. Voice recognition technology will also help to make lessons inter-active, something your young child will definitely enjoy.

Afrikaans Tutors for Kids

You don’t have the time, expertise or energy! Reach out to a tutor today! A good tutor can be instrumental in getting young children to progress at primary school level. A good pre-K teacher would be a wonderful resource in terms of grounding some of the fundamentals in Afrikaans, which will serve as building blocks for future learnings.

Superprof has a host of experienced, caring tutors, some of whom have been full-time teachers, who will help your little one grow in leaps and bounds.

Dedication to the task at hand is all-important. Your child, in a sense, will have to be immersed in the Afrikaans language. He or she may have to forgo buddies’ birthday parties and play-dates over weekends and even sacrifice portions of their school holidays and commit themselves to practising all of their Afrikaans skills.

To add an element of fun, add in some educational games at least once a week! It must never come across as hard work!

What Are the Benefits of Learning Afrikaans as a Child?

A study of a language, like Afrikaans, holds great benefits for the learner. It can be taught to an infant in the cradle, even in the womb for that matter. Unborn children are known to be influenced in some way by the circumstances the mother finds herself in. Babies apparently listen to their mothers talking in the last ten weeks before they are born. So, it’s never to earlier to start using Afrikaans around your ‘little’ one.

Your child will benefit greatly from being bilingual.

  • He or she will advance more rapidly than other children at school.
  • Their mental proficiencies will be improved.
  • Their interest in other cultures will be stimulated.

There’s no time to waste. Get them started today!

Ensure that the activities, that you child engages in, are varied, so as to avoid him or her losing interest or becoming bored. Intersperse their formal lessons with Afrikaans rhymes and stories, songs, cartoons, films and YouTube clips. Lessons can also be done online, on an app or on your phone.

teacher assisting learner
Consider a private Afrikaans tutor to help your child learn the fundamentals of the language. - Source: Pexels

Tips for Teaching Afrikaans to Kids

Here are some tips that parents of Afrikaans learners can follow.

Practise using the Afrikaans with them daily.

Speak Afrikaans to them daily, and let them speak back. As your day progresses, they will learn what a cup, saucer, spoon, knife and plate are in Afrikaans. Word choice and order will also be cemented as you correct their little foibles in an informal, maybe even, playful way..

Enrol your child in Afrikaans lessons for beginners. If you can’t help you child yourself, this would be a wonderful platform for them to start from.

Have Fun While Learning Afrikaans

If children are having fun, they will learn quicker and they will learn a whole host of skills subliminally. Expose them to Afrikaans role-playing games, lullabies or Afrikaans educational games.

As mentioned earlier, identify an Afrikaans jingle, song or recitation that they can sing along to. The beauty of this is that you may find them singing the song or jingle during their quiet moments. That’s when you’ll know that you’ve made a break-through.

Find an Afrikaans book or print a story off the internet. Choose it so that its appropriate to be read at bed-time.

Getting Your Child an Afrikaans Au Pair is a Superb Idea!

Working (playing) with an Afrikaans-speaker will definitely accelerate your child’s progress. He or she will soon be surprising you when they find Afrikaans ways of saying things before they can think of a word or phrase in English.

Immerse Your Child in Afrikaans

Move to an Afrikaans-speaking neighbourhood or have your child spend a part of their day with an Afrikaans-speaking family. Your child will have to use the target language, in this case Afrikaans, close to 100% of the time spent with that family, whom you will find to be very supportive.

This is similar to throwing someone in at the deep end of a pool. They immediately have to adapt to that environment and move or stay afloat – they have to assume a different way to behave … to survive! However, immersion will be more supportive than threatening!

Ensure That Afrikaans is His or Her Second Language of Study at School

Every South African learner has to offer a second language at school. Your child will, thus, be amongst many others who may be at a similar point in the journey through Afrikaans – a lovely support structure.

There are, therefore, quite a number of ways for your child to learn Afrikaans. Depending on their temperament, they could go it alone or choose to work with a partner or tutor. At school, they will also get lots of help, support and encouragement! Your task, as a parent, is to help out as much as you can, especially ensuring that fun time is regularly included in the learning!

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Trevor

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