Practical Reasons For Starting Sooner Rather Than Later

No need to fret if your child is past the age of 5 and has not taken a world language class yet. There  is still time! The window of opportunity is open until the age of 8, and I don’t believe it’s ever too late. It just takes a little more strategizing and planning as your child gets older.

Get an early start by using song and music, picture books, and word games.

Get an early start by using song and music, picture books, and word games.

Some important points to remember:

  • The older a child becomes the more self conscious he gets. Pronouncing foreign words and enunciating sounds in a foreign language will become intimidating for many by the age of 10.
  • The sooner your child gets involved with world languages, the easier it will be for him to continue as he gets older and becomes busier with extra-curricular activities. Once he has a positive experience learning a language and develops a genuine interest in it, he will become aware of his progress, and will more easily accept keeping a language class in his weekly routine. It will seem logical to him to continue.
  • Establish a network of friends for your child who also study languages. Children from his school, his language class or your own friends’ children. Attending a language class will have an added bonus of getting together with these friends on a regular basis.  Plan a social activity after the class that he can look forward to.
  • By waiting too long to introduce your child to a world language, the experience may very well become a struggle for both parent and child if the child has already become adept or involved in a sport of his choice, or developed a hobby that will take priority over incorporating a “new activity” that requires time, attention and effort. Studying a language under these circumstances will be more like a “chore” for this age group.  The key is to make it a positive experience for your child.
  • Children like to be challenged. Some older children may have difficulty studying a foreign language because they do not find it stimulating or challenging enough.  Their initial lessons will most likely be about learning the basics: the alphabet, colors, numbers, days of the week, body parts, and animals. The child may lose interest quickly. I am a big proponent of parallel learning when learning to speak foreign language. It is more interesting and more natural when a child learns numbers and letters shortly after they have mastered them in their first language or when they learn them simultaneously.


One thought on “Practical Reasons For Starting Sooner Rather Than Later

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I see this with my own children. Positive, fun experiences with languages at an early age make a lasting impression and kids don’t even realize they are learning. The learning happens naturally.

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