Tips and strategies to teach your kids English
These days a lot of parents are acutely aware of the importance of English fluency for their children.
After all, if you want to be able to survive and thrive in the 21st century, English fluency is a must.
From applying to top universities to excelling at a rewarding career, everything requires you to be fluent in English!
And the sooner you start teaching your children English, the better,
Yet, we still hear many people ask, “How can I teach my children English? Where do I even start?”
But don’t worry, in this article, we will share with you the tips and strategies you need to jumpstart your children’s English learning journey.
1. Establish a routine
Establishing a routine is a must! Children thrive in routines, and they like to know what to expect. Short, frequent sessions are better than long, infrequent ones. For very young children, 5 or 10 minutes at a time is enough!
Dedicate a few minutes a day for English time. You can play an English game after lunch or read a story before bed. If you have multiple children, you can get them to play games such as “never have I ever” or “hangman”.
2. Use everyday situation
Even if you have established a dedicated English time everyday like we recommended above, it is still good to mix some English into your everyday situation. This is especially useful to learn and retain new vocabulary.
For example, you can offer your children snacks in English, for example, “Do you want strawberries or popcorn?
Or, you can give them instructions in English, “Can you put your toys back in the box?”
For older kids, you can use more advanced sentences, “Can you find dad’s blue shirt in the second drawer in our bedroom?”
3. Start from the basics
With so much to cover, teaching English to your children can be daunting. But, don’t be overwhelmed, just start from mundane, everyday topics and just expand from there later on. You can start with:
- Family members
- Objects around the house
- Emotions (happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared, embarrassed)
And of course, teach them some phrases like “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry”.
4. Don’t put too much pressure on your children
Remember that children pick up foreign languages easier than adults. So, rest assured, even if they make small mistakes here and there, they are already on the road to English fluency.
When they make mistakes, simply model the correct language use. There is no need to point out their mistakes every single time. Chances are, they will be able to notice their errors and correct themselves after simply hearing the correct language use.
Learning a language can be an abstract process for children. So don’t worry if they can’t articulate the grammar aspect of the language. Just keep things fun!
5. Use games
Children LOVE games! So, use them as a way to help your children learn English. There are a variety of ways games that you can use, such as:
- Simon says: great to enhance listening skills and of course, to train concentration! You can use this game to review body parts, “Simon says… touch your head!” This is great if you have multiple children. Or, you can join the game too and have your partner say the instructions
- Two truths and one lie: Great for older kids. As the name implies, you have to tell two truths and a lie! The other players have to guess which one is the lie. Great to encourage your children to use longer sentences.
- Hangman: Think of a word and draw dashes on a piece of paper or a whiteboard to show how many letters this word has. Ask your child to think of a letter, if they are correct, write the letter in all available spaces and if the word does not contain that letter, start drawing the figure of a hangman. Continue until your child complete the word (they win) or you complete the hangman (you win)
- Guessing game: This one is very simple and great for younger kids. Simply blindfold them with a handkerchief and put an object on their hand, such as a teddy bear or a spoon, and have them guess what object they are holding. To make it fun, you should also participate and take turns being blindfolded and guess the object your child has placed in your hand.
6. Debate, debate, debate
This is a great way for your kids to learn speaking and persuasion skills. You can simply start it with a would you rather game. Give them two options and ask them to choose what they like better.
For example, “Would you rather have a pet cat or have a pet dog?”
After they answer, ask them to support their answer with some reasons or arguments, and try to counter their argument. For example:
“Would you rather have a pet cat or have a pet dog?”
“Hmmm can you give me some reasons why?”
“Dogs are loyal! And they are very attentive”
“Cats can be loyal and attentive too! Your aunt’s cat is very attentive”
“But dogs are more useful! They can guard the house!”
“Cats are useful too… they can hunt mice!”
And so on and so forth.
7. (Don’t) teach grammar explicitly
Especially for younger children, there is no need to explicitly teach grammar at this stage just yet. Simply expose them to a variety of grammar in different contexts by just talking to them with different sentence structures.
For example, you can use “must” or “must not” when talking about school rules or use “was” or “were” when talking about past experiences.
Hearing the grammar used in contexts from an early age will help your children use grammar naturally and correctly when they are older.
8. Role play!
Get your acting hat on and prepare to win an Oscar for Best Actor or Best Actress for your critically acclaimed role of… the queen, or the firefighter, or… superman! Or whatever else your children fancy.
It might feel silly at first, but role playing with your children can help them develop their vocabulary and grammar skills, and who knows, your child might genuinely be an actor or an actress in the making!
Just keep the conversation going and ask questions if your child stops talking. If they are at beginner level, they might find it hard to initiate conversation, just keep them engaged!
In this article we showed you tips and strategies you can use to teach English to your children at home. We hope you find it useful! ☺
Do you want your child to speak with confidence and fluency?
So many children in Indonesia lack confidence when they speak English. They are worried about making mistakes and are embarrassed to speak in front of others. This is because they have been taught English the wrong way!
At IELC, we teach English the right way so your child can express themselves with confidence and fluency. Whether it’s online or on campus, we create a positive learning environment where your child will feel warm and welcome, where they can learn and have fun at the same time.
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With so many courses available, it can be confusing to know which course to choose.
With an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from more than 300 reviewers on Google Review, IELC is the highest ranked best English language course in Indonesia.
We teach English the right way so that your child can gain confidence and fluency.
With these skills, they can unlock their potential and fulfill their dreams!
Our experienced teachers will guide your child along every step of the learning process to ensure the best learning outcome.
As Indonesia’s #1 English Campus, we offer great courses for kids, teens, and adults:
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- Online and on campus IELTS course
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Whether it’s online or on campus, we will help your child gain the skills they need for their future. Contact us to start your child’s journey towards confidence and fluency today!
IELC Managing Director
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