How to Use the Holidays to Teach the Kids to Speak a Language

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Teach the Kids to Speak a Language

The holidays are upon us and all of us are looking forward to the break. Your plans might include travel, a lot of family dinners or just staying warm at home. The holidays are a break from our routine and an opportunity to spend more time with family. If you have been meaning to teach or improve your child’s vocabulary in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati or Bengali, the holidays are a great time to catch up. Here are some ways you can use the holidays to teach the kids to speak a language.

I would like to add that all these strategies assume that your child has earlier exposure and one of the parents is well-versed in the language.

1. One Language During The Holidays

Now that everyone is home during the holidays, how about making the rule that you can only speak in the chosen language. There would be resistance from the kids earlier, but keep it fun and stay persistent. Help by translating for them, but only respond when they have said the words in the chosen language themselves. Keep rewarding their efforts.

2. Make it Fun

Keep your attitude fun and not too educational. Remember that your goal is to build your child’s confidence in speaking the language. Later you can concentrate on their written skills but keep it easy in the beginning by concentrating only on verbal skills.

3. Books, Movies & Cartoons

Make use of fun books, movies and cartoons to expose your children to your mother tongue. Do the research before hand and have the resources available. Tell children your favorite childhood stories and what they meant to you. Watch a beloved movie together. Find cartoons on YouTube in the language to develop your child’s interest.

Here is a list of five bollywood movies you can watch with your kids, and here is a compilation of fun urdu cartoons for children.

4. Take Help of Extended Family

If you have family visiting take their help in immersing your children in the language through stories, folk lore and games.

5. Integrating Language and Culture

There is a strong link between language and culture. As you integrate cultural activities in your holidays like cooking traditional dishes, include your children, and talk to them in your mother tongue enriching their vocabulary and memories.

Here are some great recipes for desi cookies.

6. Setting Some Rituals

The holidays are a great time to set some rituals for the family that will help the children to keep building on their language skills. Some ideas include: weekly family movie in the language, one language day once a week, Sunday traditional meal etc.

7. Travel

If you can manage the time and money there is nothing like travel to South Asia to immerse your children in the language and make memories of a life time.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and they help you make use of the holidays to teach the kids to speak a language!

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Tamania blogs about her Pakistani-Canadian family at UrduMom.com, sharing the journey of raising bilingual children, teaching them urdu in fun ways and their multicultural life in Canada. She loves to write about parenting, travel, cooking and lots of random happy things

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