Children have a great advantage in learning a new language and the younger they start, the better! The British Council agrees that young children are natural language learners; they pick up language without thinking about it or trying. Unlike adolescents and adults, they can imitate pronunciation and work out the rules for themselves. Learning to talk in English is easy and natural unless adults in the child’s life says it’s difficult. Because most adults today probably learned English academically at a later age through grammar-based text books, many have trouble understanding that kids can learn English effortlessly.
Children need to feel that they are making progress. They need continual encouragement as well as praise for good performance, as any success motivates. Parents are in an ideal position to motivate and so help their children learn, even if they have only basic English themselves and are learning alongside their young children.
Parents can not only bring their child’s language and activities into family life, but can also influence their young children’s attitudes to language learning and other cultures. It is now generally accepted that most lifelong attitudes are formed by the age of eight or nine.