Learning a New Language as a Busy Parent

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I’ve always been a language lover. As a child, I would become so excited every time I used to hear someone speak another language. I use to dream of learning as many languages as possible. As a mother, my priorities have changed but my love of languages has not. Many people write off their dreams after they become parents. Parenthood is actually a wonderful way to motivate yourself and get children involved in the learning process too. Fulfilling your dream always requires hard work but will pay off in the end.

  1. Start now! You don’t have to be young or enrolled in school to take on a new language.

It’s never too late to learn a language. All you need is interest and dedication. My grandfather was always carrying around Urdu and English books. He managed to become a lifelong student of English. 

2. Learn with your whole family!

There are so many language opportunities available for kids that parents can join. We have a Spanish storytime at our local library. I always end up learning something new with my children. You can pick hours of the day when you only speak your target language and replace words you normally say in English. My children and I love to play freeze dance and say, ” stop” and “dance” in the language that we are learning. 

3. Start using the language immediately.

This relates to learning with your family. Once you learn new words or phrases, use them right away! Replace words like, “key” or phrases like, ” open the door” with your target language. The only way for you to remember them is to use them. 

3. Don’t worry about how you sound.

So many people become discouraged from learning a new language because they fear sounding funny. It gets even more discouraging when a native speaker jokes about how you sound. Just don’t give up! Nobody sounds like a native speaker when they start learning a new language. Most people who learn another language have an accent. Stay focused on your goal and have fun with it.

4. Don’t compare your progress with another person or another family. 

Don’t be discouraged because another person or another family may be picking up the language faster than you. With determination, you will pick it up at your own pace. Focus on your success.

5. Take small consistent steps.

Avoid burnout. Coming up with a consistent plan is better than doing too much at once and feeling too exhausted to bother speaking another language.

6.Choose a language that you studied in the past or one that is a part of your family 

Sometimes we think we forgot a language but we haven’t. You’ll be surprised how fast it comes back to you. If you haven’t studied a language before then try to study one that your family or close friends speak. That way you can have exposure to the language and have someone to ask for tips.

7.Take advantage of the many apps, podcasts, and YouTube videos available.

There are so many wonderful resources out there from Duolingo to YouTube video classes. The amazing thing is that many of these are free.

8. If you aren’t able to travel then put yourself in a social setting where that language is used. 

International festivals and international restaurants are great ways to immerse yourself locally. This will push you to get out of your comfort zone. There will never be a success in a foreign language if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.

9. Change your language settings while you watch television. 

I’ve learned so much just by switching my settings to another language and watching the subtitles.

10. Listen to music in the language you’re learning.

I love listening to music in different languages. It’s a fun way to get your ears used to hearing the language that you are learning.   

11. Label everything in your house. 

This is the old-fashioned way but it works. If you have a toddler then you may have to be extra creative with this one.

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