Learning a home language from an early age helps children develop emotionally, social, intellectually and culturally. Once they have a strong first language, they can easily learn to speak another language. This is especially true in the first few years of a child’s life. Children can learn several languages.
Here are some ways to help children learn language:
- Children need to hear the language – Every language has a different sound. Children need to be able to hear these sounds. This is how they learn the sounds and rhythm of language.
- Children copy what they see and hear – If they hear and see you saying the language, they’ll do the same.
- Children learn through play – They talk to their dolls, puppets and other toys.
- Children often have a ‘silent period’ – They are listening to the language and getting ready to speak. When they feel comfortable, they will speak.
- Children make mistakes – This is a part of learning. Some children find it difficult to make certain sounds with their mouth, tongue, throat and lungs because they aren’t quite developed yet. Encourage your child.
- Children learn through repetition – Your child may want to read their favourite book over and over again. They like to try and tell the story themselves.
- Children love songs – Songs and rhymes use different parts of the brain and are. This makes it easier for children to learn songs than speech we use every day.
- Children may sometimes mix up languages – It just takes time, listening and practice.