The simplest way to sound and look like a local is to throw in a smile and a “Hej!”.
Teaching your kids basically anything – from Spanish for kids to astronomy for kids – is extremely simple if you know what methods to use. There are no “lazy” children that “won’t study”. Only busy adults. If you give them your time and knowledge, kids’ minds will almost literally absorb all kinds of information from languages to poetry or basic math in no time.
Fresh, creative and eager to learn, their brains have a less developed prefrontal cortex. Thus, they tend to use their imagination much more than us. While adults experience functional fixedness and see everything exactly as it is, children create unexpected connections that will help them learn faster. Obviously, the difficulty level is different. So adults shouldn’t blame their “old” and “dusty” minds for not retaining information, but their lack of imagination.
More precisely, kids will easily associate Spanish words they find complicated with other words or objects from English or even Spanish. For example, my nephew, who’s 4 years old, associates the word aburrido (bored) with burro (donkey) – a Spanish word he already knew. The connection is represented by Eeyore, the iconic donkey from Winnie the Pooh. He says that “Eeyore always looks sad, tired and bored”.
So what is the best way to teach your children Spanish without resorting to endless and sometimes expensive Spanish classes?
Best case scenario? You live in a Spanish-speaking country and all the preschoolers in your kid’s circle speak Spanish. Worst case scenario? You haven’t moved yet, but some basic Spanish words for kids would be absolutely life-saving when it happens.
1. How to teach your child Spanish at home – the easy way
The easy way is also the least time-consuming way for you, as a parent, because you no longer have to take on the role of a teacher. Your baby will teach himself or herself Spanish online!
Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds! Language learning apps for adults have been known to deliver incredible results in no time. And today, Mondly Kids is able to provide an equally successful training for children.
Dedicated to children aged 5 to 12 years, Mondly Kids is a language learning app that offers the best free Spanish lessons for kids. Together with the child-friendly animations and sound effects, the app introduces kids to several learning methods comprising of word games, flashcards, grammar features and pre-recorded interactive conversations by native speakers to help your baby perfect his/her Spanish accent and pronunciation.
In addition to the language options, the app also covers several dedicated topics like animals, nature, fruits and food, parts of the body, colors, and numbers, family, school, professions, buildings, leisure, and sports. Basically, these are all Spanish lessons for beginners, but the design and story make it particularly fascinating for children.
Because of its beautifully crafted gamified experience, children absolutely love learning and playing with it. My nephew is probably this app’s biggest fan. He certainly is more diligent than me with his daily lessons.
2. Spanish songs for kids – the fun way
Music connects people. It opens their minds and souls. This is why we learn so much better when we add music to the learning mix. And it certainly goes the same way with children. They simply love music!
If you want them to learn Spanish fast, Spanish songs for kids are the recipe for guaranteed success. Sing and dance together! Go crazy! This exercise is good for both you and the child. But unlike the first learning resource, it requires your time.
In the end, you may be surprised to find out that both of you learned some new Spanish words without any help from a dictionary. Finish your day with some Spanish games for kids like Activity (super fun for a bigger family) and you are already five steps closer to achieving fluency.
P.S.: Activity is super fun, but a little too hard for beginners. I’d suggest creating your own cards.
3. Spanish for kids in cartoons – the “ugly” way
You may have already realized why I call this the “ugly” way. Cartoons are not always the best influence on our kids. Years and years ago, when I wasn’t yet a teacher and my little brother was 4 or 5 years old, cartoons were my mother’s salvation when she was really busy with work. And guess what happened! My brother watched a particular cartoon broadcasted during the day that used a particular bad word. Naturally, he started repeating it.
The bottom line is yes, cartoons can help them learn a certain language really fast. Some of us experienced that as kids. But, as parents, we have to carefully select what our kids watch on TV.
Internet and TV are full of cartoons. Just pick whatever makes YOU (not other parents) comfortable. No bad words and no violence. Do that and then watch your kids “magically” knowing how to speak Spanish before one can say Jack Robinson.
4. Spanish books for kids – the advanced way
The first book I read in Spanish was El pequeño vampiro en el país del conde Drácula by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. Being passionate about Dracula and Transylvania made me devour it all in less than a pig’s whisper.
I was only 12 so I had no idea how to tackle the whole “learn Spanish for kids” subject, so I took this first book that came to hand and sailed to unknown lands. Sure enough, I knew a bit of Spanish, but not enough. After no more than 10 pages, that didn’t matter anymore.
If your children like to read, then this advanced learning method is perfect for them. Its benefits are all connected to achieving Spanish fluency faster. As I pointed out in the beginning, children tend to learn using connections. Reading Spanish books for kids will only help them make more links. As a result, they will associate certain lexical fields with certain books.
Don’t worry about words they don’t know. Most of the time, they will be able to translate these new Spanish words using context and if the situation asks for it, a small Spanish dictionary always comes in handy.
5. Talk, talk, talk! Talk in Spanish!
Until this point, I presumed none of the members of your family speaks Spanish, but that might not be the case. Spanish conversations are crucial in developing your child’s vocabulary in any language. For example, one of the kids in my school is from Italy. She spoke Italian in the beginning, but now, after some time spent in the UK, she developed a gorgeous British accent! She even lessons her father when he makes pronunciation mistakes!
If you speak at least a bit of Spanish, don’t hesitate to talk to your kids in Spanish! There is absolutely no problem if one of the parents speaks the child’s mother tongue and the other one speaks Spanish. They might get a bit confused in the beginning, but this is actually a great way to make Spanish sound more familiar to your kids.
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