Every child is different, some find it easier than others to speak any language, let alone a different language that of their native one. There are, however, some things that you can do to help your child to improve their chances of becoming a fluent English speaker, or as close to it as possible.
Some children are more capable than others, whereas, some are just ‘shy’, helping your child to learn in a ‘stress free’ environment will really help them to shine as best they can. Often, with shy children they just require a little extra encouragement and the chance to be themselves, you can help your child to learn outside of school by practicing some of the following methods;
- Don’t put any pressure on your child to provide longer responses. If all they can say at the moment is one word, that’s fine.
- Try to be laid back so your child sees that you are comfortable and that you believe in what they are saying.
- Never interrupt or let anyone else interrupt what your child is trying to say, always give them the chance to say what they want to say. Often, children can be held back others want to help by filling in sentences or correcting words, whereas, most of the time, if left, the learner will actually correct themselves and become more successful. Let them ask for help when they feel they need it.
- Make a note of any mistakes, as above, don’t stop them from speaking but encourage them to speak. We only learn from our mistakes and you can introduce the idea of making some changes at a later stage. Stopping a learner mid flow can have a really negative effect on their confidence.
- Provide your child with opportunities to use vocabulary that they already know, you can help by asking open questions about subjects that they are keen on. Choose an English-speaking middle school to ensure fluency.
- You can use your native language if needed, but, do make sure that they understand questions and instructions
- Try and make speaking activities as fun as possible, asking them questions about things as you go on journeys. Simple activities like spotting certain colour cars or talking about scenery can really good for starters.
Most of all, don’t stress
Your own stress can easily be passed onto your child, if your expectations are too high then you could be putting unwanted stress upon your child. If you enter into the language learning process with zero expectations of your child, then everything that they do will be a positive in terms of progress and nothing they do can be seen as a failure or a negative.