If you have come here in search of a one-stop destination for your child to learn and improve their English and grammar skills at home, you are at the right place. You are in an ideal place as a parent to help teach your children to speak English and to improve their language abilities at home. Children can learn languages quickly and easily, but this can only happen in a stress-free environment. In a place where your child feels safe and relaxed, speaking English should be interesting and enjoyable for both you and your child. It is best to think of English as a lifestyle and not as a boring school subject. Every day this ‘English lifestyle’ can be made up of enjoyable speaking events. If you want to develop the English-speaking abilities of your child at home, making learning enjoyable is always the most important thing, and that goes for any generation. The more exciting you find learning a language, the more likely it is to stick to those abilities.
The single most significant factor in the success of a child with English is the interest and support of their parents, no matter what the age of their child. So to help their learning, what must parents do at home?
- Create a routine: While routines are important for almost everyone who is looking to learn something, they are relevant more so, to children. Routines help to maintain a foundation for a learning system. Generally, that’s how all school systems function: they work and follow a clear curriculum between certain hours. Also when kids are studying at home, the same methods of learning hold true. However for kids to understand, you don’t need to do a whole day’s worth of English lessons. Depending on how old child is, it’s best to use shorter time spans for several days, such as 30 minutes or 60 minutes a day and maybe even a break in between. You will also need to do shorter time spans, such as 15-minute cycles, for young children in particular, to keep them interested. The main argument here is that it is consistent, and it determines how much information children grasp over time.
- Make use of technology: Language choices come with every piece of technology we own and as we have shown, one of the key ways of improving language is through repetition. By using English as the working language for your TV, iPad, laptop or mobile, your child can see English in a natural sense any time they see you accessing something or wants to access by themselves. Online English classes via YouTube and other platforms are also an excellent way to improve the child’s English and grammar skills.
- Have fun at story time: Most kids love tales, so it makes the learning process more enjoyable if you can combine learning English with a short story. Storybooks, drawings, role-playing, or even watching films may be employed. When first introducing a language, picture books work best for younger children, so you can read the book aloud and explain pictures in the book to learn starter vocabulary. Make them read the book aloud to exercise pronunciation if you’re dealing with older kids. To test the vocabulary that they’ve mastered, you can read books many times and build quizzes around them.
- Combine their favourite hobbies with language learning: If a child likes to paint, paint together and explain the painting in English. The more you relate the themes of the lesson to what the child is interested in, the more they would be inclined to like learning. For young children, being imaginative or engaging also has something to do with this. For older children, it could also be studying unique subjects such as science or art. Either way, if they find the process fascinating, children will automatically become eager to learn.
- Playing games together: Games are a proven and excellent way to improve your child’s English speaking skills and make it enjoyable. Board games, crossword puzzles, word games (For example: Games like Simon Says, I Spy, Hangman, etcetera) can help refine your child’s English in terms of sentence formation, grammar, spelling and structure. Instead of watching your child separately, it’s necessary to play games together. This ‘bonding’ can keep kids more involved in the game and helps prevent dissatisfaction with barriers to learning.
- Don’t forget to reward them! When you play a game or read a children’s book together and kids do a good job, reward them! Chocolate (at a safe limit), but maybe even a meeting with friends, or something else they really enjoy. Yes, incentivise, when the need arises! Instead of punishments for errors, concentrate on motivation because you never want to associate fear with language learning. Exemplify what your child is doing right and he or she will aim towards perfection.
- Never get too specific on grammar: Although older children certainly need to concentrate on grammar when it comes to developing their language skills, studying grammar is different for younger children. They may not have acquired grammar skills for their first language, and learning grammar would become much more difficult if English is learnt as a second language. Start concentrating on simpler subjects, such as numbers, adjectives, colours, clothing, food, body, toys, and other routine things. In everyday life, such as when getting ready or during dinner, you can also use English.
Don’t fear if your kid makes mistakes or does not instantly start speaking proper English. During the language-learning process, the brain has to go through a processing and pattern finding journey. After a long period of listening and thought, language development usually begins. The child would quickly catch up without any assistance, and there is growing evidence to suggest that the ability to talk more than one language will help retain memory in later life.