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Everything You Need to Know about Teaching Children Spanish

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > How Can You Teach Children Spanish?

Spain is a country full of beautiful beaches, cultural riches, outstanding architecture, fabulous painters, friendly people, and fantastic food.

Put simply, there are plenty of reasons you should visit this country and teach your children how to speak Spanish.

Would you like your children to be able to speak the Spanish language before they start studying a high school Spanish course?

Here are a number of different methods you can use to ensure that your little ones can speak the language as soon as possible! ¡Vámonos! (Let’s go!)

And yes, learning Spanish can be easy!

Teach Children Spanish with the Help of a Tablet

Children nowadays are very quick to familiarize themselves with touchscreens, smartphones, and tablets. Rather than have them being fruit ninjas, you could let them learn more about Spanish while having fun.

There are plenty of free Spanish resources to help your child to learn to speak their new language. In the modern age, if you want your child to learn to speak Spanish, you really have no excuse. While it’s unlikely that they’ll gain fluency using these particular resources, there are websites where you learn Spanish online and you can choose different language courses depending on your level.

For example, the Fun Spanish app is aimed at children between 3 and 10 years old and includes a number of different games for teaching children how to read, spell, and write in Spanish. While it isn’t really free, you can pay $12.99 for 8 lessons.

Which are the best apps for learning Spanish? If they’re going to be glued to the tablet, they may as well be learning Spanish! (Source: pixabay.com)

Of course, there are plenty of free websites with games for teaching children how to speak Spanish.

If your child likes teddy bears, you could opt for the Little Pim method that comes with a really cute panda toy, a school bag, and ways to learn Spanish. This solution is based on repetition and includes DVDs for learning Spanish words. These kinds of Spanish classes can make speaking Spanish fun.

Parents can also get involved by reading our article on when a child can start learning Spanish.

Teach Children Spanish with Cartoons

Cartoons shouldn’t be avoided at all costs! In fact, foreign language cartoons can be great ways to give parents some respite while also teaching the children some basic Spanish phrases.

Watching cartoons in their second language is a great way to show them new vocabulary alongside images while they train their ear to listening to Spanish.

Here are some cartoons your child could watch in Spanish:

  • Mundo Zamba

  • Dora the Explorer: This show is even more effective if you watch the Spanish version where Dora will speak mostly in Spanish while teaching them English vocabulary, too.

  • Bob el Tren

  • Pocoyó

  • Caillou, the four-year-old boy with a big imagination.

While cartoons won’t be enough to teach a child Spanish on their own, they’re still a useful tool that will help them pick up some Spanish! It’s up to you to give them the daily language practice they’ll need on a daily basis in order to become fluent in Spanish.

Are cartoons enough for them to start dreaming in Spanish? Probably not. While it’s good for the child to hear spoken Spanish, especially if you’re trying to make them a native speaker, you obviously can’t replace regular practice and Spanish courses with cartoons.

Spanish Books for Children

It’s well known that children love stories, especially before they go to bed. Learning Spanish can be made easier by using fun books with colorful pictures. If your child loves reading, why not get them books in Spanish to they can practice reading themselves once they’re old enough?

How long does it take children to learn Spanish? A bedtime story could be great for children learning Spanish. (Source: Victor)

You can get books that are fully in Spanish or bilingual books (which we recommend when they first start reading around ages 5 or 6). How long does it take to become fluent in Spanish?

Here are a few books in Spanish that children can read before they go to bed:

  • Buenas noches Gorila

  • Sweet Dreams/Dulces Sueños

  • Where’s the Baby/¿Donde está el bebé?

  • ¡Guau, guau! (A textile book with pages of animals and different materials).

  • Conejo y sombrero (a fun story about a rabbit which you should definitely read aloud!)

You can also buy the Spanish versions of their favorite stories and movies like Finding Nemo, for example. Reading is also a great way for them to learn words by heart as well as developing their brains in time for school!

Teach Children Spanish with a Private Tutor

For curious and motivated children who really want to learn Spanish, getting them a private tutor to work with them on their Spanish is a great idea.

There are also specialist centers and schools for very young children where they can learn Spanish in a group while they play or take one on one private tutorials and there are a number of benefits to going to a group class: they can make new friends, have fun, and they won’t be intimidated by having their very own tutor. There are plenty of different options all over the country.

In New York City, for example, there are a number of specialist immersion daycare centers for children from 3 upwards. It’s a simple method: learn Spanish while playing and practicing songs, etc.

There are a few reasons you should get them their own tutor in case you had any doubts!

Having a Spanish-speaking Family

Having a Spanish-speaking parent is really useful. Families with a Spanish-speaking heritage often have either a mother or a father that were born in a Spanish-speaking culture. If both parents speak Spanish, however, they should make sure that one parents focuses on speaking to the child in English to make sure they pick up the language before school.

Which are the best ways for children to learn Spanish? If you have Spanish-speaking family members, make sure they speak frequently to the children in Spanish. (Source: pixabay.com)

Studies on language acquisition have shown that you don’t need to wait until you’ve learned your mother tongue before you can learn a second mother tongue. Learning Spanish can therefore be done alongside learning English!

If you’re still not convinced, you should check out our article on learning Spanish from a very young age!

If throughout the day, the child listens to both English and Spanish, they’ll learn to interact naturally in both languages. This will also make them more comfortable in both languages which brings many benefits later on in their studies (especially if they end up working in tourism, international business, translation, or teaching, for example).

Learning Spanish from a Young Age with the Help of their Grandparents

When a family has Hispanic roots, there are often opportunities to visit Spanish-speaking countries. This is especially true if the grandparents still live such a country. You’ll have an even better reason to visit your parents and they’ll definitely want to see their grandchildren as often as they can. They could even spend summers making Spanish-speaking friends on the beach or by the pool, for example.

You can also complement their language learning with a few extra private tutorials while they’re on vacation, too. This is a great way to get the most out of immersing them in a Spanish-speaking culture while reinforcing their knowledge of Spanish grammar which can fall by the wayside if they’re only practicing speaking every day.

There are also language schools and summer camps that children can attend in Spanish-speaking countries where they’ll practice their Spanish while playing and doing other enriching activities.

Spanish Websites for Kids

For tech-savvy parents who want to teach their child Spanish, there are plenty of options available on the world wide web. The website www.petralingua.com, for example, offers 21 different lessons on the basics of Spanish as well as dozens of songs, 80 videos, 140 exercises, a dictionary of words they should know, and much more.

The site also has Spanish learning kits for children that include booklets and CDs for children to learn Spanish at their own pace. How well does it work? Tell us about your experiences with it!

Dinolingo.com has books, DVDs, and online Spanish lessons for children as well as their famous dinosaur mascot. This Spanish resource is for younger children aged from 2 to 7 and includes 5 DVDs, 150 flashcards, as well as posters you can decorate their rooms with. It allows children to learn basic everyday Spanish vocabulary as well as understand simple Spanish words and expressions.

There are so many ways to teach children Spanish nowadays. Teaching a child Spanish at home can give them a huge advantage over other children.

How much do private Spanish tutorials for children cost? Under the right guidance, children will be happy to work on their Spanish. (Source: pixabay.com)

You should also check out our tips for learning how to speak Spanish.

For those who don’t have any Spanish speakers at home, the most important thing to do is ensure that your children remain motivated. You can encourage them and reward them with games and make sure that their language-learning experience is engaging and enjoyable.

What’s your favorite method for teaching children Spanish? When are you too old to learn Spanish?

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