Like you, all parents feel proud when their children can do many things very well. From piano lessons to karate lessons and even cooking classes, we allow our children to develop multiple talents from a very young age. In turn, your child benefits from being able to do anything and everything. While most schools offer two languages or sometimes three languages, you can always ensure that your child is linguistically-inclined as well by adding an additional language into the mix. While your child may be able to learn the languages that are taught in school well, wouldn't you feel even more proud if your child could speak a foreign language fluently too? If you are nodding your head in agreement, perhaps you should be considering allowing your child to learn English as a second language.

imagine having a bilingual child who is as young as 10
Looking at your child speaking or reading may push you towards wanting your child to learn more languages and to become fluent in all the languages learnt. Source: Unsplash

What could possibly be stopping you from enrolling your child immediately into an English Second Language class? Truth be told many people hold back simply because they worry it may be too much of a burden to expect their child to learn an entirely new foreign language. Children, however, tend to learn languages rather quickly and end up being fluent in a language within a short span of time.  So the sooner that you enrol your child into English as second language lessons, the more benefit your child will reap from being perfectly bilingual or multi-lingual. So how can kids benefit from learning English as a second language?

What Having a Bilingual Child Means?

While you may fear that having a bilingual child means a child who constantly code switches during daily conversations, you need not worry. Children are perfectly adaptable to every situation and you will be amazed at how knowledgeable your child will be when it comes to using different languages in different settings. Children can learn two languages simultaneously and by doing so, they might even be able to find similarities between the two languages.

Whenever a child learns a new language, they also get a taste of the culture behind the language. Knowing about the culture of a language could make your child more excited about travel. Imagine all the English-speaking countries that your child will be enthusiastic about visiting once he or she has become more culturally aware. You need not worry one day when your child is older and wishes to live abroad as your child will already be able to speak the native language that is spoken in most of the countries.

You can choose to work on developing your child's love for the English language at home or you can also allow your child to learn the language in a setting particularly meant for learning. If you are teaching your child to love the English language at home or in a formal language classroom setting, here are some guidelines on how to make the English language learning process a fun one for kids.

leave a message
Leave your child a message and let him or her know why you would love for him or her to try to learn English. Source: Unsplash
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I Want to Find English Speaking Classes for Kids Near Me

If you are keener on finding English speaking classes for your kid, make sure to search the web to find English speaking classes near you. While many parents prefer to start their children's English learning journey from a very young age at home, the formal language learning setting may also prove to be equally beneficial. If your child attends English speaking classes, he or she may enjoy interacting with other second language English speakers who are also trying to understand the language in this class. Contradictory to what you believe, an English instructor won't start by rectifying children's incorrect grammatical utterances from the onset. A language teacher will work on getting children to learn English words and phrases first. This will be done in a fun way as well and the classes will not at all seem too overwhelming for young children.

So what happens if your child attends English classes for a year and then chooses to reject the English language? Well, you must remember that ultimately your child will choose whether English is a language that he or she is interested in. A child may be more reluctant to pursue the English language when he or she figures that none of his or her peers can speak the language at all. Although this sounds like a worst-case scenario, by the time your child makes this decision, he or she would have learnt plenty of words and constructed many sentences in the language already. Do not despair if your child seems to be less enthusiastic about English learning as he or she gets older. Eventually, he or she will be grateful for being given the chance to take English language lessons in the first place. A child who has stopped taking English lessons in a formal setting may grow up to be an adult who continues to learn English.

How then can I get my child to keep hearing the English language and reinforce the words in the language that has already been learnt in my home environment?

Make the home environment conducive to English learning
Allow your child to learn English at home in ways where he or she will not realize that he or she is learning English. Source: Unsplash

The ESL Speaking for Kids Techniques

So if your child seems to reject the English language, you can still sort of work the language into your child's daily routine. The best way to make the language enjoyable for your child is to allow them to watch some popular cartoons. This is a fun technique and will seem far more enjoyable for your child than an English class. You can even step it up a notch by allowing your child to concentrate on an English animated movie like, "Scoobi" so that your child will be focused on English vocabulary and dialogue for over an hour. While the cartoon technique does work exceptionally well when paired with more structured English lessons, it can still be used as the only method if your child is reluctant to learn English in any other way.

Make sure you always keep English books in your home always. Even the act of reading an enjoyable story to your child can be a good technique to get your child to learn new English words. Books are the best possible source to teach children everything and anything including everything about colours, countries, and even personality traits of different type of characters. You can even encourage reading by allowing children to read their holy books in the English language.

Reading a holy book
Let your child read stories and religious texts in English to understand the value of the language. Source: Unsplash

If your child actually attended English speaking classes, he or she will be able to even read a book by himself or herself. The more you encourage reading at home, the more fluently your child will be able to read. Engage in conversations with your child over a good book. Ask your child to explain why he or she liked a particular character in a book? Stimulate the thinking process by asking your child if he or she could think of an alternate ending for the story? When your child answers allow him or her to answer in his or her native language. You can always narrate his or her native utterances into English so your child is still hearing the language being spoken.

Encouraging Basic English Speaking for Kids

So if you are not ready to enrol your child into structured English second language classes or if you feel your child is reacting rather negatively to the idea of learning the language, you don't have to stop encouraging basic English in your household. Your child can even pick up certain English words by listening to English songs and nursery rhymes. When children sing along to songs and nursery rhymes, they are having fun and enjoying themselves. In this way, your child won't even know that he or she is learning. You can even use devices such as the Ipad or tablet that your child is particularly fond of to teach the language so your child will be more willing to listen to an English song if it's playing on Youtube on their favourite device.  Make singing English songs a weekly family activity will also help. Singing along to English songs and encouraging your child to sing along as well is a helpful strategy.  If you are adamant about your child learning to speak the language, make sure that you constantly speak the English language in your home. As a parent, you are the first role model for your child. If your child hears you speaking English even if you are speaking basic English, your child will realize how important the language is in your household. Speaking basic English at home may even make your child more prone to want to learn the language to keep up with the phrases and clauses being uttered in this foreign language.

Get your child to love the language again
Let your child befriend the English language. Source: Unsplash| Hannah Rodrigo

If you are self-teaching the English language to your child and you are at your wit's end, perhaps these helpful tips for teaching English as a second language will be beneficial for you. Perhaps you have a child who is battling with dyslexia, and you are ready to throw in the towel. Do not give up, there are methods that can work when teaching children with dyslexia how to speak the English language as well. Read this article to discover some tips and tricks for teaching second language English students with dyslexia.

Remember even if your child is learning merely three new English words per day, you are still doing an awesome job of getting your child to become proficient in English. If you show a love for the English language in your home, your child will start to love the language all the more as well. Remember, "Rome wasn't built in a day."  In the same way, the English language won't be mastered in a day either.  Give your child the time that he or she needs and you will surely see the benefit of holding strong and getting your child to master the English language one day.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.