Moms, dads, grandparents, and other caregivers: your kids need you to learn a language too.
Why do we say “too”? It’s because we’re under the assumption that your children might already be learning another language…at home, at school, in the community, or elsewhere. If they’re not learning another language and they’re preschool-aged, start your search for a language immersion preschool today. If there’s no language immersion preschool near you or your kids are older than preschool age, contact us so we can connect you with some other fabulous resources for raising bilingual kids.
Is language learning really necessary for parents and caregivers? Yes. We think so.
Here are 4 reasons your kids need you to learn a new language too:
1. Learning a new language lets you live that language with your kids at home.
One of the biggest struggles for monolingual parents wanting to raise bilingual kids is not knowing the language.
Want to know one of the best remedies for not knowing the language? Learning the language!
We live in such a great time. Everything is on YouTube. Search for “learn [name of language]” on YouTube, and the results will be in the millions, particularly for the most common languages. For instance, “learn German” returns 10.3 million video results. “Learn Spanish” returns 14.1 million video results. There is no shortage of YouTube videos, which is awesome because YouTube is one of the best avenues to learn a new language.
Disclosure: These next couple of paragraphs include a couple of affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we get a small commission. You pay nothing extra! Purchasing through our links is just one way to help us keep our website up and running, so thank you!
Beyond YouTube, you’ll find apps, podcasts, blog posts, online lessons and so much more. Language classes are an option, too, but instead of physically going to in-person classes, which takes time away from your family, try online language lessons through italki. With italki, you never have to leave the comfort and convenience of your home. That’s because italki connects language teachers and learners virtually, in real time, through its digital platform–and at very affordable prices. It’s recommended by leading language experts. In fact, we don’t know of any polyglot who doesn’t recommend italki.
Finally, we recommend starting to learn a new language through Pimsleur audio lessons. Pimsleur gave us so much confidence when we started learning German. It provides a great base for building a solid, foundational vocabulary. Language greatness Ellen Jovin says, “I love love love Pimsleur. It is my favorite language-learning system of all time.” If we had to choose a favorite, we’d also say Pimsleur. It’s grossly underrated, in our opinion, among language learning tools and methods.
YouTube, italki, and Pimsleur are just a few of the many resources available for adults to learn a new language. Through trial and error, you’ll find what works for you. The point is that tools for adult learners really do exist. You don’t have to resort to watching Peppa Pig or PJ Masks in the target language (although some parents like doing so, and that’s totally OK too!).
If you can commit to language learning–even just 15 minutes each day–you’ll find yourself being able to speak the language to and with your kids a little more each day.
“But I’m already bilingual,” you say. Awesome! Read on for the next few reasons why your kids need you to learn a new language, or at least brush up on the language you already know to some degree.
2. Learning a new language models lifelong learning and discipline.
Most of us inherently want to build a rich legacy and equip our future generations for greatness (however you define “greatness”).
Modeling a positive and productive behavior, such as language learning, is a good first step toward reaching those aspirations.
Your children are individuals and therefore will ultimately develop and cultivate their own hobbies and interests. By modeling discipline and dedication, deep and intense study, and a passion for continued, lifelong learning, you’ll pass on those values to your children. Each of those values and habits is important, no matter what path your children take in life (whether language learning or not).
3. Learning a new language is a great way to spend your “me time.”
At Language Preschools, we’ll be the first to say that moms, dads, grandparents, and other caregivers need “me time.” Self care of the caregiver is a critical component of raising healthy and happy kids.
We’re no judge of how you want to spend your “me time,” but if you are looking for a hobby that’s more meaningful than, say, mindlessly scrolling social media feeds or binge-watching Netflix, consider learning a new language.
By learning a language, you’ll also be modeling to your kids a healthy, productive, and creative outlet for spending that valuable (and sometimes hard-to-come-by) “me time.”
4. Learning a new language is good for your health.
If you’re here at LanguagePreschools.com, you probably already know there are some benefits to growing up bilingual. But are there benefits of learning a new language in adulthood? Yep! It’s called brain health. Your kids need you to have a fit and healthy brain, and you need that for yourself too.
The I Will Teach You a Language blog outlines 9 brain-health benefits, along with research-backed studies, of learning another language:
- Better decision-making skills
- Improved memory
- Increased attention span
- Improved ability to multitask
- Increased perceptual sensitivity
- Better cognitive abilities
- Improved first language
- Bigger brain
- Delayed onset of dementia
Ummmm…what parent wouldn’t want all of the above? Just like working out your muscles by lifting weights and doing cardio, your brain needs mental workouts to stay in tip-top-shape too.
When I (Kaci) was at the peak of my German language studies, my brain had never felt sharper. I was sharper at my day job and sharper at home with my child. It was an incredible feeling, and I 100% attribute it to language learning.
What’s stopping you from learning a new language?
Is it lack of motivation and drive? Lack of resources? Lack of time?
Stick around here, and we’ll help you find solutions to whatever is holding you back from learning a new language, either independently or alongside your kids.
Learning a language is a challenge, but it’s rewarding–and something every parent and caregiver can benefit from. As you approach the second half of 2018, make this your season to try your hand at learning a new language. You won’t regret it.