You want your kids to learn Spanish. Here’s how to make that happen.
As a parent, you can clearly see the importance of learning a foreign language when it comes to job or educational opportunities in today’s competitive market. What’s not always so clear, however, is how to motivate your kids to learn a second language so they can take advantage of those opportunities.
I’ve taught English and Spanish to students of all ages and skill levels, which means I’ve prepared motivated adults for the IELTS exam. Now, these are students who understand the doors they’ll open by doing well on the test.
But when it comes to children, you can’t simply force-feed them information!
Luckily, we’ve put together 3 actionable steps you can take to motivate your kids to learn another language.
Read on to see how!
Make Learning Spanish Fun for Kids!
I truly believe that this first step is the foundation of the last two. Making the learning fun and relevant is so important to motivating kids to pick up any kind of skill or information, including a second language.
In my online classes with children, we break out the props and puppets to not only help the students learn by interacting with the objects but remember by doing. We move around, dance about, and act out nouns and verbs as we learn them!
When the kids don’t feel like they’re doing difficult work, they’ll learn without even realizing!
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
Hah! Good luck keeping my teenager’s attention with puppets and flashcards!
And you’d be right! But that’s where relevancy comes into play. We know that what’s considered fun and interesting differs as we grow, so go ahead and do a little detective work:
What does your teenager think is cool? What are they into?
Uncover their interests and you unlock the key to motivating them to learn a second language!
Set an Example-Have you learned a second language?
Think back to when you were a kid:
Did you want to do something simply because you were told you had to? And how often were you truly thinking about gaining an upper hand in a tough job market between playdates?
The answers are probably No, I didn’t and Never.
Kids these days are no different, so you’ve got to set the example and demonstrate the benefits of learning a new language for them like a motivational ninja.
I love to show my younger students pictures of my travels where I was able to continue studying the language at a local school and meet new friends. Nowadays, chances are high your kid will work with speakers of other languages or even go abroad for work, so I show them my pictures of my jobs abroad, too!
Ultimately, I’m trying to highlight the relevant benefits of learning another language that I’ve experienced, like better opportunities to study or work in other countries. Then, I remind them that in order to be able to adventure abroad like that, they’ll need to have at least a basic level of cultural awareness and an ability to communicate!
And if you haven’t learned a second language yourself, don’t worry! Just show your kids that you’re willing to put forth the effort to learn along with them and get them excited about the process. You can also use the stories of these 5 incredible polyglots to inspire your child as well!
Your kids will be motivated to learn a second language through imitation after seeing the doors it can open in education and work abroad!
If You Can’t Bring Your Kids to the Language, Bring the Language to Your Kids!
I get it:
Traveling isn’t always possible with our busy schedules, and it gets expensive when you’re bringing along your entire family! This means that trips to a different country to immerse your kids in a second language might not be feasible.
But there are a bunch of other options to bring the language and culture to you!
Joining or forming a local language exchange are great ways to meet other motivated learners and share your culture. You could also consider hosting an exchange student, as it’s no secret that kids think this is cool! I remember our intense jealousy when one kid in my friend group had a Spanish exchange student living with him. Plus, it’s a two-for-one:
The older exchange student serves as a role model and an advocate for learning a second language to study and work abroad while also encouraging your kids to practice the language together!
Whatever your child’s interests and whatever your budget, you can figure out how to motivate your kids to learn a second language. Start by listening to what interests them-what gets them excited. Follow up by setting a good example for them to imitate, and then remind them of the doors that knowing a second language can open in education or work abroad!
And finally, if taking a family trip doesn’t work for you right now, then immerse them in a language right in your hometown. When you present the learning process to them in a fun way and show excitement yourself, you’ll have no problem motivating your kids to learn a second language!
And, just a little reminder to grab your list of FREE Spanish resources for kids right here!