Surely, learning a new language is a hard task. However, science proved this statement to be wrong when it comes to children. According to several studies,
children’ memorising ability and understanding of a new language is much better than adults. If a child starts learning a second language by the age of 5, he/she will likely master it, averagely, by the age of 9, depending on his/ her ability and dedication. Teaching your children Arabic would be a great investment because you are not only teaching them a language, but you’ll be teaching them the language of the Holy Quran, the best gift that has ever been given to humanity.
Moreover, Arabic is a very rich language and is a widely spoken language which will open to your children several doors and opportunities. Below are some
practices and exercises that you can apply to facilitate teaching your child this mesmerising language.
1- Interactive Teaching: Make your child an active party
Children can easily get bored and distracted because their brain hates to be dull. Imagine that you’re in a situation where you have to listen to someone talk for hours without having the opportunity to say your opinion or without having any questions asked to you. This will be extremely boring and automatically, you’ll lose focus and your brain will start thinking about something else, something more interesting.
This is exactly the same case with children, if they don’t get to be part of the conversation, they will lose focus. If it’s a class that they don’t get to participate in, then it’s a wasted class. Hence, interactive learning is the solution.
Telling your kid story in Arabic is so enjoyable but also, while reading it, you can ask them questions regarding the story so that they stay alert. Also, this method will make them think and express their opinions which will put the vocabulary they’re learning into a good use.
Some of the questions you can ask are:
- What do you think of the main character?
- Who’s your favourite character? And why?
- If you can add any characters, what would you add?
- If you can change the ending of the story, how would you write it?
And there are countless questions that your creative child can answer because they’ll be thinking constantly as you’re reading and asking questions. This exercise is like sports for the brain; it keeps it alert, focused, and active.
More importantly, this practice will familiarise your children with the Arabic words. They’ll know when to use them and how to use them; without this ability, the result will be knowing many words but not knowing how to use them.
2- Immersion: Make your child live the language
Immersion is a very advanced and important approach of teaching a child a language. Specialists came up with this concept when they observed how babies learn their mother-tongue:
1. They hear others speak and say stuff that they may not understand. However, their unconscious mind stores these words and with the repetition of them, the baby becomes familiar with the words.
2. Babies start linking between the words they hear and the context in which they are said. Hence, they start developing an understanding of their surroundings.
3. Babies, blindly, start repeating the words their minds has stored whether they know the meanings of these words of if they don’t.
4. As they grow up, they’re so immersed in the language and this is how they learn speaking words and forming meaningful sentences
The process of acquiring a second language isn’t so different from acquiring the native language. Here’s what you can do to let your child live this language and unconsciously learn it:
1. Watching Cartoons: Any child in the world loves watching animated cartoons. Thankfully, many cartoon making companies like Disney, provide their animated movies with an Arabic dubbed version. If your child already know a cartoon, like Finding Nemo for example, you can let them watch this cartoon in the Arabic language. Children are smart enough to link between the meanings and the story of the original version with their equivalents in the Arabic version.
2. Songs: The key to acquiring a language through Immersion is the exposure time your child gets. Surely, you can’t make them watch cartoon all day but you can play songs as a “white noise” where your child is. This way, they’ll be enjoying themselves with good music in addition to learning Arabic.
3. Talk in Arabic: Use some Arabic expressions in your speech because children tend to mimic their parents. For example, instead of saying “Hi, how are you?” You can say “Al-Salam Alikam, Keif Halk?” And instead of saying “Good morning” you can say “Sabah Elkhair” and so on. The more you use Arabic expressions in your speech, the more your child will learn.
Children, being curious and eager, will ask you the meanings of what you’re saying and gradually, they’ll use it themselves.
3- Games: Have fun and learn!
Games are such an essential and enjoyable part of the early steps to learn any language. You can use both digital games and card games to teach your children this beautiful language.
For card games, you can either buy them, print them, or make them from the scratch. Card games usually include two sets:
One set is words and the other set is pictures of objects or animals. You can play this with your child by making them match the word with the correct object. If you don’t know any store that sells it, you can get it online or you can download the game’s template from the internet and print it. Well, if you love crafting things, you can make it from scratch and you can ask your child to colour the objects if you want.
Also, there are many games on Google play and App Store that you can download on your child’s device and watch him/her have fun with it. These games vary between colouring, guessing the word, unscrambling the letter, and completing the messing letter.
All of these practices will surely help your child in his learning journey and not only that, but they will also make it a very enjoyable and fun one.