Raising bilingual children starts with a few small steps, a few minutes per day. It should not be overwhelming. We are all busy and we are trying our best. Using everyday activities to teach a language is key. Integrating these habits into our week will generate huge language learning pay-offs. Just like compound interest.
The goal is to fit these habits into each day of the week, between 5 and 10 minutes at a time. You will get a sense of accomplishment by doing each of them with your children. When you look back at the week, you will feel pretty good.
7 habits – 1 per day - 5 to 10 minutes each:
- Monday: Songs on the go. When you drop your kids off at school, listen to two songs in the car in the target language and sing them while driving. They will eventually start singing with you.
- Tuesday: Breakfast tales. Have your son or daughter select her favorite story in the target language and read it to her while having breakfast together.
- Wednesday: Play their favorite sport. If he or she likes soccer and you want your child to learn Spanish, pretend both of you are the 2 best Spanish soccer players.
- Thursday: Cartoon night. Browse on YouTube and find a 10 minute cartoon to watch together in the language you are teaching.
- Friday: Shopping day. Go to the corner store near your home. Take time to explain what you put in the cart in the target language.
- Saturday: Let’s cook together. Have them repeat all the names of vegetables, fruit or other ingredients. Added bonus: not only do they learn a new language, they also take pride in eating what they cooked with you.
- Sunday: Draw a picture. Recap the day and draw together a picture of an activity you did during the day. Describe the colors and shapes you draw in the target language.