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How can I help my child like English?

image1Many parents are eager to help their kids learn English from a young age. One of the most important factors in teaching foreign languages to young children is helping them form positive perceptions of communicating with foreign languages.

Here are some suggestions for helping your children enjoy English:

Let your children see YOU enjoying English

One of the best ways to get children interested in doing something is to let them observe you enjoying that activity. Don't make a big deal out of it, but let your children see you reading English books or newspapers. Watch English DVDs, listen to English music or let them see you speaking English with a friend. Your children look up to you. When they are playing, they pretend to be you. If you'd like them to be interested in English, show them that you are interested in English.

Use English that doesn't require them to answer in English

If a child is forced to respond in a second language they find difficult, they can become frustrated and disappointed easily. You can use a lot of English with your children that doesn't pressure them to speak.

Use simple commands, such as "Put on your shoes." "Let's go." or "Give me the apple, please."

Give praise, like "Good job!" "Well done!" or "What a beautiful drawing!"

Expose your children to English

Remember that INPUT is essential. Identify some English media (such as DVDs and CDs) that your children like and let them enjoy it on their own terms without pressuring them to produce English right away. Read to your children in English as well. Find some good English picture books that your children enjoy looking at with you and read to them at story time. Just be careful not to completely replace books in your native language with English books. For developing literacy, it's extremely important that you read to your child in their native language regularly.

Focus on the positives

Learning a second language should be a positive experience. Remember that this isn't a race. If you are exposing your children to English regularly in fun ways, they will be fine as they progress in their language learning. If you push too hard, they will start to resist. Focus on the positives. Praise your children for their English, but don't go overboard and make them feel like speaking English is extraordinary. You want your children to feel positive about English without making them feel like English is a big scary subject beyond their reach.

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