8 Tips to Teach Children English or Any Second Language

Knowing how to speak English is very important nowadays. It's good to strategically turn learning into a fun task for kids if you don't want them to feel like it's a requirement or an obligation.
8 Tips to Teach Children English or Any Second Language

Last update: 26 December, 2018

Throughout the years, many new methods have been created to teach children English as a second language. Ultimately, methodologies are based on correct pronunciation, as this promotes cognitive development in bilingual children. 

How Can You Teach Children English Without Forcing Them?

The most widespread belief is that bilingualism is only achieved if children are exposed to both languages at an early age during childhood.

However, for some people this isn’t true. It has also been proven that you can successfully pick up a second language when you’re older.

According to experts, the key is to use the proper learning method. That’s why “fun” learning methods have become more popular in recent years. You can make teaching kids English fun to the point where children actually look forward to their classes.

One sure bet to effectively teach children English is to completely immerse them in that culture. In other words, the entire learning experience during class is in English.

This way, they get to consistently see and hear correct pronunciation, as well as pick up on English phonology. They’ll get more comfortable using and expressing themselves in the second language.

You’ll most likely experience some resistance. In fact, it’s quite common. It’s easier to communicate in the way we’re most comfortable doing so. By using this teaching method, children can view this new language as a learning adventure.

A common mistake is to ask the child to speak in the second language too soon. We should keep in mind that this added pressure blocks the child’s learning ability.

It can take the brain a few weeks to process new information, organize thoughts in English and then express those thoughts. 

8 Tips to Teach Children English At Home

Bilingualism is the ability to effortlessly speak two languages. If your child is learning English at a school or through a course, you should reasonably reinforce the lessons at home.

Teaching children English or any second language entails making it a part of their daily routine aside from just practicing at home. Keep the following tips in mind:

1. Watch TV in English

Switch the TV’s default language to English, and play shows, movies or cartoons that they will enjoy in English.

2. Relate to the Environment

Try to get your children to interact with other people who speak the second language. Naturally, make sure the interactions are appropriate so as not to intimidate your child.

3. Read in English

If you’re cultivating a love for reading in your child, it would be ideal to gift the child with a book in the second language. It can be a book that connects action words with pictures or objects.

4. Introduce Simple, Fun Games

Play a game saying the colors in the second language, or saying the names of objects and cars that pass by in that language. Remember, teaching children a second language should go hand in hand with having fun.

5. Act Out Songs

This learning method allows the child to associate a word or expression with an action, allowing for a basic understanding of the spoken language while having fun.

6. Use Electronic Devices

Take advantage of all the new technological resources available to help foster a thorough comprehension of the second language.

If your children use iPads or any other devices, you can find apps in English for them to use. It’ll help them figure out how to use the apps in another language.

8 Tips to Teach Children English At Home

7. Join In Their Activities

Don’t write it off as something crazy, but you could ask for permission to join your child in one of his or her classes. Watching you participate in class can be a source of motivation for them.

8. Time

You should establish what is known as the time strategy. Keep in mind that we’re talking about bilingual children here.

If you designate certain times or days to speak only in a certain language, your child will be able to remain fluent in his or her native tongue while developing fluency in the second language. 

To teach children English effectively, it’s necessary to establish an emotional bond with them. Children’s curiosity in the appropriate familiar environment will do the rest in terms of helping them gain fluency in a second language.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ghasemi, B., & Hashemi, M. (2011). Foreign language learning during childhood. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences28, 872-876.
  • Olulade, O. A., Jamal, N. I., Koo, D. S., Perfetti, C. A., LaSasso, C., & Eden, G. F. (2015). Neuroanatomical evidence in support of the bilingual advantage theory. Cerebral Cortex26(7), 3196-3204.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.