10 Tips to Help Teach Your Child a New Language

If you’re keen for your child to learn a new language, it can be difficult to know where to start. Today – TIMIO, makers of the TIMIO Educational & Audio Musical Player – give their best tips on how to give your little one a head start.

1. Start Young

Many argue that there is a “critical period” where a child’s ability to learn a new language diminishes as they get older; while this doesn’t mean they won't be able to learn a new language at all, it might become more difficult. So, introducing a new language early on will give your child the best chance at successfully mastering a foreign language.

Research also shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical thinking and listening skills, as well as improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. Young brains are working on building these skills as children grow and develop, so giving them a boost through language-learning is certainly a positive! Another advantage is the earlier your child discovers different languages, the easier it is for them to learn about diversity and cultural awareness. This helps them to respect and celebrate peoples’ differences which is so important to become a global citizen in our modern world.


But... How Young?

The TIMIO can help your child learn a new language from a young age, and is suitable from the age of 2 and up. Not only does TIMIO help your child develop their own native language abilities from a very young age, but it can also teach them the basics of the other languages TIMIO discs have to offer.

he founder of TIMIO is multilingual and his son was raised speaking 4 different languages. Today, aged 15, he can communicate in 5 languages and has been able to make friends all over the world.


2. Begin with the basics

From learning the names of everyday household objects to colours, numbers and animals, there are plenty of basic language words to learn as a starting point with TIMIO. Once these have been mastered and your child is a bit older, you can let them listen to stories or music in another language. The stories available on TIMIO discs are family favourites that children should already be familiar with, so it will be easier for them to understand and follow the story in a new language.


3. Study with them

Whilst the TIMIO player is great for encouraging independent learning and play, it can be great to sit and learn with your child occasionally! This encourages children to practice something difficult, which they might have given up on if trying to learn alone. Learning something together is also a brilliant way to build connection with your child – having fun practicing together and getting the tone right, whilst boosting their confidence when they get it right.

We recommend trying to incorporate as many different activities as possible to make learning another language fun. This can include the TIMIO player, but also your own word games, DIY flash cards, songs and more.

TOP TIP: Always practice in a relaxed atmosphere, and don’t forget to praise your child so that they don’t get discouraged. TIMIO will help you with this, saying words of encouragement like “well done!” or “try again” so that the learning journey keeps on going.

4. Use big gestures and physical demonstrations

Pairing nonverbal communication with vocabulary words helps children comprehend language. When your child can associate your exaggerated and expressive gestures, facial expressions, and physical demonstrations with vocabulary, they are more likely to comprehend and remember those terms. So, don't be shy! Get those hands moving, and show them with excitement what each new word means, to help it stick in their memory.


5. Make learning part of their everyday

Any form of learning comes down to repetition. If the child is still learning English, try performing the English based activity, then repeating the same activity using the target second language two or three days later for maximum effectiveness.

This is something that can be done with the TIMIO player, as it contains question and answer games available in English and seven other languages including Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. With such a fun and practical design, children won't need much encouragement to sit and spend 30 mins or so with their TIMIO player each day.

6. Find Opportunities to practice a new language outside of set learning time

We've already mentioned how learning should be fun, but how about making play more educational too? Try tying in your little one's new language skills while you're playing games and label things around the house to practice identifying them - like a door, their toothbrush, their bed, and more!


7. Have patience

While learning more than one language in the early stages of development can be a little confusing for your child, it's not something to worry about. Confusion between languages is not a sign of your child being unable to understand, it is a natural process of adaptation. Every new thing takes time to adjust, and so is the case with learning a foreign language. Remind them which language the word they're saying belongs to, and keep encouraging them to practice, practice, practice!


8. Use imagery to support learning

To keep your child engaged and give some context to what they're learning, try  associating a word with an image. This will help them understand the meaning of the word or phrase quicker.

The TIMIO player features images to assist with this activity, but you can use your own books or creative skills to bring even more words to life with visuals!


9. Play music and nursery rhymes in the new target language

This will help your child understand the tonality of the language and understand how sentences are formed. TIMIO-compatible nursery rhyme discs are available, providing a selection of classic nursery rhymes for you to learn in a range of languages.


10. Use resources designed to support language development

Learning resources such as TIMIO make learning much more fun and engaging for children - this what lies at the heart of TIMIO! With this player, not only will you listen and learn, but you can play “find the X” games and press vibrant images to hear the language. Children thrive in different educational settings, TIMIO is here to provide an interactive and fun method to learning languages.