From British Council

Teaching English to children can be challenging to parents. How can you motivate them to use the language often?

We have come up with 3 tips to motivate your child to speak the language.

1. BE ENTHUSIASTIC AND INVOLVED

Learning the English language starts with the parents! If your child sees you reading, watching films and speaking in English, they will be inspired to do the same. Actively involve yourself in your child’s English learning experience, rather than expecting them to study on their own. Giving your child lots of praise, encouragement and support will increase their self-confidence and motivation.

2. PERSONALISE YOUR LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Parents know their child best. To make learning English an enjoyable and rewarding experience to your child, make sure to involve them in fun activities that suit their personality and interests. Very active children may like to play action games, while quieter children may prefer word games or card games. If your child likes sport, they will enjoy stories and vocabulary games about sport. Ask them which activities they prefer doing to give you an idea of the activities you can prepare for your child.

3. JUDGE YOUR CHILD’S MOOD

Try to choose the right time to encourage your child to practice their English skills. Don’t ask them to do activities when they are tired and grumpy, or they will feel stressed. It is important to try to figure out their moods: when are they receptive and alert? If, after starting an activity, you notice that your child is not receptive, it is better to try again later rather than forcing them to continue.

4. PROVIDE MEANINGFUL SITUATIONS

Children love role-playing and using their imagination. Suggest some situations, such as at the toy shop, on the bus, at the restaurant, etc. and ask your child to choose. Take turns playing different roles (e.g. customer and shopkeeper) and give language support as necessary. If they use phrases in their first language, don’t forget to repeat what they have said in English. Gradually your child will produce more of the speaking parts in the dialogues.

Make-believing the situation creates an immediate need to use English for your child. This also motivates them to use it in similar activities and events, thus boosting their confidence to use the language more. When you create a situation, try to use real objects (plates and cutlery for a restaurant) to increase their involvement in the game.

Remember: the more enthusiastically you play your role, the more motivated your child will be!

5. FIND WAYS FOR YOUR CHILD TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS IN ENGLISH

Having a genuine reason to communicate in English provides a high level of motivation. If possible, enroll your child in English classes that are designed to develop your child’s confidence in communicating in English. A classroom environment is the perfect setting for your child to learn English with their fellow children. Once they have gained enough confidence at school, your child will be able to use the language at home.

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