There are few things more important in modern society than the ability to make yourself understood. From gaining employment to making your case in a commercial or personal dispute, your ability to use words correctly and fluently makes a huge difference, and so it makes nothing but sense to want your children to grow up in full command of at least one language.
Not everyone can grow up with the studied and poised eloquence of a Harvard lawyer. There is a reason that some people are paid big money for their ability to turn a phrase, but the fact that there are brilliant orators out there doesn’t mean it can’t be important to learn how to express yourself better, nor to want that opportunity for your child. And for that reason, it’s worth considering how you can help your little ones grow up with a strong linguistic foundation.
The first building block in learning a language is repetition. If, as an adult, you have tried to add a language to your skills, you’ll recognize this. You hear a sentence. You listen to its component parts. You repeat it, and you repeat the process multiple times. This is the foundation of every language learning app out there.
Even if you haven’t sought to learn a language, think of your favorite song. The first time you heard it, you enjoyed the beat, the melody and the hook. Maybe you picked up some of the lyrics. After about the 20th time you heard it, you were singing along. Now you’ve heard it thousands of times, and can sing it word perfect, pauses, phrasing and all. That’s exactly how we acquire language. Speaking in front of your child will give them more opportunities to learn how to speak themselves.
How did you learn to read? If that question has got you scrambling, don’t worry - most of us don’t remember. It’s such a fundamental part of our days that it’s hard to remember not being able to read. Unless you’re a trained teacher, this also makes it very hard to teach someone to read. Most of that essential skill will be delivered to your child by a qualified teacher, but you can help smooth that path with Pre-Reading Strategies To Boost Kids’ Reading Comprehension. The more contacts your kid has with books and other reading material, the more their formal learning will take hold - and they’ll be off to the best possible start.
As we noted earlier, you can probably sing every word of your favorite song, because you’ve heard it so many times. Some of those times, you won’t even have chosen to listen to it; maybe it was on a playlist, maybe you heard it in the car on the way to work, maybe it was playing in the supermarket as you were deciding what to cook for dinner.
The key is, every time you heard it, it laid down a stronger connection in your mind. And when you want to assist a child with language acquisition, having them close to the language as often as possible increases that connection. It’s not just the radio, either. If you’re talking to your friends or family about an upcoming event or a plan you have to renovate your home, it’s good to have your child there. Just avoid any controversial themes, because children learn to speak by repeating what they’ve heard - and they haven’t yet learned to be tactful.
Taking it further, if your child is talking about a topic that interests them, encourage them to learn more. Show them age-appropriate content about the subject and encourage them to read more around it. Not only will this give them additional vocabulary, it may also allow them to gain a more rounded understanding of the topic and equip them for more detailed conversations. This is essential for confidence, which is a huge part of speaking eloquently.
As your child becomes more confident in their mother tongue, it can be interesting to introduce them to another language. This may be one you also speak - if you have heritage from another country, you may already converse in that language with family. Being able to converse in a second language is useful for more than just making yourself understood in that country or community - it helps you to think aboutwhy a word means something. It makes more neural connections and helps with nuance.
It’s commonly remarked upon that Inuit communities have something approximating fifty words for “snow”. This is somewhat true, but what they actually have is at least one word each for different types of snow, from fine snow to deep-lying, to frozen and more. When you learn more languages, you’ll better understand the nuances of language and be able to explain things in greater depth. Learning a language makes you think about language, and this only has good impacts on your eloquence - so a second language is a gift for a child, whose brain is always going to be more receptive than an adult brain.
Language is a hugely important thing to master. And when a child has a stronger command of a language, it makes education about other things easier too. So it is beneficial to give your child every chance to learn more and encourage them to experiment with a language in every way possible. The earlier you give them these opportunities, and the more they are repeated, the better a chance your little one will have of making something special from the opportunities they are afforded.
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