By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

07 September 2016 - 13:08

Teaching English to children can be challenging to parents. How can you motivate them to use the language often?

We have come up with five tips to motivate your child to speak the language.

3. Judge your child's mood

Try to choose the right time to encourage your child to practise their English skills. Don’t ask them to do activities when they are tired and grumpy, or they will feel stressed. It is important to try to figure out their moods: when are they receptive and alert? If, after starting an activity, you notice that your child is not receptive, it is better to try again later rather than forcing them to continue. 

4. Provide meaningful situations

Children love role-playing and using their imagination. Suggest some situations, such as at the toy shop, on the bus, at the restaurant, etc. and ask your child to choose. Take turns playing different roles (e.g. customer and shopkeeper) and give language support as necessary. If they use phrases in their first language, don’t forget to repeat what they have said in English. Gradually your child will produce more of the speaking parts in the dialogues. 

Make-believing the situation creates an immediate need to use English for your child. This also motivates them to use it in similar activities and events, thus boosting their confidence to use the language more. When you create a situation, try to use real objects (plates and cutlery for a restaurant) to increase their involvement in the game. 

Remember: the more enthusiastically you play your role, the more motivated your child will be!

5. Find ways for your child to communicate in English with others

Having a genuine reason to communicate in English provides a high level of motivation. If possible, enrol your child in English classes that are designed to develop your child’s confidence in communicating in English. A classroom environment is the perfect setting for your child to learn English with their fellow children. Once they have gained enough confidence at school, your child will be able to use the language at home. 

Learn more on our English courses and camps for kids and teens