french for kids

Tips for Parents: How to Help Your Child Learn French

french for kidsIf your child is learning French, you might be wondering how best to help them succeed. French tutor Carol Beth L. shares her best tips for parents entering into the world of French for kids…

Supporting your child in learning a foreign language can be difficult, especially if you don’t speak the language yourself. Nonetheless, there are ways to help them learn. French is a relatively common, available language that is taught in middle and high schools, and many communities and cities have resources to help people learn the language. Here are a few ways that you as a parent can support your child in learning French.

1. Inform yourself about local French resources.

Connect your child with those resources. Is there a French school (ecole francaise or lycee francaise) in your area? A branch of the Alliance Francaise? Both local French schools and Alliance Francaise branches have classes, programs and sometimes even a summer camp to help children and teens absorb a foreign language.

How about a consulate with a calendar of events related to French language and culture? University language departments also often keep track of such events for their students or organize French-related events for their students. Some such events may be in French; others may be in English, but will still relate to French current events, culture, history or literature.

2. Expose your child to the language.

Some of the resources listed above may help. There are also many popular French films and books out there. For younger children or less advanced readers, Asterix et Obelix and Tintin are popular comics that both have video adaptations.

If your child loves movies, La Gloire de mon Pere and Le Chateau de ma Mere are films that follow a young boy vacationing with his family in Provence in the south of France. Jean de Florette is also set in Provence, and is based off novels by Marcel Pagnol, who is also known for his book Le Petit Nicolas (Little Nicolas). Le Petit Nicolas also has both a written format and a film adaptation.

In addition to video, audio tapes and CDs can also be useful. For example, ThinkLanguage.com offers articles and audio tapes on a regular basis for subscribers. You may also be able to find CDs with French for kids. The car is one great place to keep these and put them on if you find yourself driving your child around a lot to school or other activities. This way, your child can study a little French on the go!

3. Consider an exchange program.

Sending your student on exchange programs to a French-speaking country, or visiting one with them, requires some financial backing; so, if you are unable to provide that backing, look for programs that may offer scholarships for linguistic and cultural exchanges. Or, focus on other ways to support your child.

Also, keep in mind that France is just one of the many French-speaking countries out there. French is also spoken in Quebec (Canada), France, Belgium, parts of Switzerland, and quite a few African countries, especially those in western Africa. Haiti speaks French, as well, and a few other former French colonies also host a larger percentage of French-speakers than the rest of the world.

4. Learn French yourself.

Learning French takes a lot of commitment, and a large percentage of parents are not realistically able to do it due to conflicting responsibilities. If you are one of those parents who has the motivation and time to do so, it will set an example for your child. It may also help you support your child in other ways. You may be able to help them with homework or speak with them in the foreign language. At the very least, you will have a greater understanding of what they are going through, the difficulties they are having, and the linguistic technicalities they may refer to as they are learning it.

Learning a language can take time and effort, but is definitely worth it in the long run! Supporting your child as they learn can be difficult, but they will appreciate it, even if they don’t say so.

Your child will also benefit from the one on one attention of a private French tutor. Tutors are available to work with your child online via Skype or in-person, depending on location and availability. Find a French tutor today!

Carol BethCarol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She  also studied Japanese in high school and college. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

 

 

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