Overcoming Speed Bumps in Language Learning

Speed bumps are a normal and expected part of the language learning process.
With time, patience, the right mindset, and some helpful tools, you can help your child overcome any speed bump in language learning and find momentum again.

Things were going so well! You found a routine and system that worked for your son or daughter and they were cruising down the “language learning highway” with speed and agility. Then all of a sudden,

 

BOOM!

 

Flat tire. Your child gets frustrated with a new Spanish verb conjugation, or they started soccer practice when Mandarin lessons were scheduled, or one of their friends told them French sounds funny and now they don’t want to speak it.

 

I want to assure you that speed bumps are a normal and expected part of the language learning process. Along with the normal ‘aches and pains’ of language learning, you have to overcome the obstacles of unforeseen circumstances. There’s good news! If we’re sticking with the driving metaphor here, speed bumps temporarily slow progress, they don’t block it forever like a wall. With time, patience, the right mindset, and some helpful tools, you can help your child overcome any speed bump in language learning and find momentum again. 

 

Here are 5 suggestions for overcoming speed bumps in language learning:

 

      1. Set Realistic Goals 

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” As exciting as it is dreaming about all the benefits your child will encounter with learning a new language, if 100% enthusiasm drives the process with 0% planning, then the results will be like shooting off a firework – loud, colorful, and over in two seconds. Setting realistic goals will help keep you accountable and help you track progress along the way. Don’t forget to take time to celebrate the little victories! Want to learn how to set realistic goals? Read this article.  

 

      2. Identify Specific Challenges

The challenges to language learning are as diverse, unique, and specific as your child is. Some kids excel in the written exercises and have difficulty speaking the language. Some kids have an amazing memory for vocabulary, while struggling with the grammar and word order. Take the time to understand your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences and find a method that works for them. 

 

      3. Seek Consistency

Forming a habit and sticking to this routine is the secret to long term success. Forming these language habits around activities that your child already does (for example, television, games, reading time) will help you incorporate the new language into their daily life. Planning these language activities around the same time every day will help develop expectations for both you and your child and help to minimize the “speedbumps” of a chaotic, ever-changing schedule and unrealistic expectations. And remember, progress, not perfection is the name of the game. 

 

     4. Remember the ‘Why’

When your child throws the flashcards on the floor in frustration, when they refuse to speak the language to you, when you feel overwhelmed with the tasks of the week and wonder why you even started this process in the first place, it’s crucial to go back to your motivations of ‘why’ you want your child to learn another language. Whether it’s because you want to open up more opportunities for them, encourage their brains to develop in a new way, or connect with family members who speak the same language, write down why you started this journey and come back to it often. 

 

      5. Join Language Communities

Trying to teach your child another language can be a lonely and exhausting process which will force you to overcome many speed bumps of your own. Finding a support group of family, friends, and a language community will remind you that you’re not alone and many parents face similar “speed bumps.” Cultural Bytes would love to come alongside the work you are doing at home and offer language tutoring, camps, and online programs in Spanish, Mandarin, or French that we guarantee will help your child progress in language learning. 

 

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