In a recent blog post, I mentioned the “One Parent, One Language” method for teaching a second language in the home. While a great option for many, it may be difficult to implement if, like me, you’re a single parent, or alternatively, don’t speak a second language, yourself.
This was the situation I found myself in years ago- wanting to immerse Ben in both languages, but having no idea of where to begin. As a busy parent, I needed hassle-free solutions- options that could integrate seamlessly into our life, while not breaking the bank. So, I had to get creative.
Today, I’m sharing the easiest and most effective ways that I incorporated a second language into our daily life, and how you can too- regardless of your own language abilities!
Listening in the car
With streaming music services, it’s easier than ever before to incorporate a foreign language on-the-go, and it’s something that I’ve personally done since Ben was a baby. What I love about this, is that I can search “French Hits” or specific French children’s music and instantly have a way to immerse Ben in the language.
Another great option is listening to the radio, and this can be done in a variety of ways. If you subscribe to Sirius XM, I like to recommend checking out their foreign language news stations- I know for a fact that many major languages are available here. What I have done though, is download a French news app, from my app store, that allows me to listen to live French news everyday.
(Keep in mind- this option may not seem like it is directly teaching a language, which is true to a degree. However, it will get your child used to hearing the language- an equally important part of the learning process!)
Gus on the Go
Having a “language background”, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to language learning software. In fact, I almost never recommend it- unless it is Gus on the Go, a language learning app designed specifically for kids.
I first discovered Gus on the Go in 2015 while desperately searching for something to supplement Ben’s exposure to French. It was important to me that such an app be easy to use, have quality content, native pronunciations, but most of all, be fun- it was for my then-toddler after all!
What I did not expect, was for Gus on the Go to become such an integral part of our life. Because it was fun to use, Ben would voluntarily “study” French, and I give all credit to the way the app is designed to appeal to children.
The best part, is that this app is available in 30 languages; so even if French isn’t your second language of choice, they have a enormous amount of languages available.
I recently spoke with my friends at Gus on the Go, and they’re doing some pretty incredible (amd secret) things! I will be writing more about this in the future so stay tuned!
My family has personally used this product for years and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Watching television & movies in a foreign language
With the globalization of Netflix, the streaming service now offers a wide variety of children’s programs from all over the world, in a multitude of languages- making language immersion for kids easier than ever before!
Simply access the search function within your child’s profile and type in your language of choice. Movies and shows will be found that are either originally in that language, from that specific country, or are dubbed over in that language, often with English subtitles.
While it can be challenging at first, for kids to adjust to watching television in a different language, I always encourage parents to stick with it and to not give up. Ben struggled in the beginning, but now feels so accomplished that he can watch his favorite French shows and actually understand words and phrases!
There are so many ways to include a foreign language in your daily life, and these are only a few. However, for busy parents, options like these can be necessary- a good tech alternative to less desirable choices like video games and junk tv. Regardless of your language level, I hope that you’re able to find options that work for you and your family!