Many Arabic people moved from Arabic countries to foreign countries which speak different languages. To be able to live in a new country, you have to learn their language as well as teach it to your children. By the time, the parents may forget their original language if they don’t practice it, and their kids may learn the language of the new country and ignore Arabic especially if the parents don’t work hard to teach it to their children.
Teaching our kids many languages is very important, and it comes with many benefits especially Arabic language as it is ranked the 5th language in the world. Additionally, the Arabic language is one of the most popular languages, the authentic language of many people living in different countries in North and South America, and the native language of more than 20 countries in Middle East and North Africa. As a result, many parents try to teach it to their kids.
Sometimes, teaching your kids Arabic may be difficult and boring for them especially with the daily load of school duties, work, extracurricular activities, and many others.
However, there are few tips to help parents teach their kids Arabic language especially if it is not a part of the school curriculum.
Tips for Teaching Arabic to Your Kids
Although teaching Arabic language to your kids is tough, it is not impossible if you follow certain strategies.
Here are some tips for teaching your children Arabic as a second language:
1- Start Teaching Your Children Arabic As Early As Possible.
Some parents believe that teaching the kids Arabic should start at an early age, while others prefer to wait till their kids grow up to begin the process.
According to recent statistics, it is easier to teach young kids Arabic at early ages so that they accommodate the demands of learning the new language much better than those who wait.
For best results, at least one of the parents should be talking Arabic regularly with the kid, instead of talking English all the time and waiting for the session to talk Arabic. Additionally, if your kids reach the age of 10 without being able to talk Arabic, it would take even more effort to keep them engaged in the language.
2- Make Learning Arabic a Part of the Routine
In general, learning something takes place in the class; however, learning a certain language must not be limited to a classroom setting, but should extend to the everyday life.
Incorporate the Arabic language in your daily life to make it a normal part of your life and a habit.
3- Be dedicated and ready to fail
Whenever you want to teach your kids something, you should be aware that it won’t be easy at all. To succeed at this task, as anything in life, you must understand that dedicating time and money to this effort is essential, and failing is possible.
Some parents do a big mistake by making their children afraid of failure. For this reason, we see that those parents don’t try to teach their children new things because they fear that the children may not be able to learn it. As a result, the kids can feel the fears of their parents, so they won’t try to learn new things or take risks because they are afraid of failing.
To overcome this state, you and your kid must sit down, determine few goals and draw together a certain plan to achieve the goals. It would be great if you reached your goal, but if not, you will just need to do few changes.
You have to let your child understand that learning Arabic is something important in life, and he or she must learn it without being afraid of making mistakes.
4. Introduce your children to Arabic only after they have proficiency in the skills of their first language
In most cases, the parents themselves are not native speakers of the second language, and they want to teach it to their kids.
However, before teaching your kids a second language and expect them to catch the skills, make sure that they are proficient in their native language.
Let’s take an example:
If you want to teach your kid how to write a word, you must make sure that he or she is capable of holding the pencil properly. The same is applied to learning a second language. If you want to teach your kid writing Arabic words, you must be sure that your child is proficient writing the English words.
So please, don’t expect your child to learn the Arabic alphabet unless he is very good in English alphabet, but if you try to teach him both languages at the same time, he will confuse and take a longer time to learn both.
5. Listen to Arabic Music, songs, apps, and short videos
Whether you are with the kids at home, in the car, etc, listen to Arabic songs or watch short videos to help them understand how the Arabic words sound, how they must be spelled and how to develop the pronunciation of letters. Learning Arabic language in this way will make it a fun activity, and your kids will memorize these songs and repeat them in no time!
Even if the kids were exposed and listening to Arabic songs without the help of their parents, they will learn it unconsciously.
6. Read Arabic Books Before Bedtime
Most parents read books and stories for their kids before they sleep. Another way to teach your kids Arabic is to read English and Arabic books for them.
If you want to read Arabic books and teach the language for your kids, you have to read the sentences in Arabic, then translate it to English. When your kid starts to learn some Arabic words, you have to focus on them so that your kid can feel that he is learning something familiar to him.
7. Play Arabic Games
We all do some activities as a family like at least once a week or on Fridays. Next time, choose an Arabic game and use the Arabic words with the kids.
To encourage them and build a self-confidence in speaking Arabic, let them pronounce some words and win the game. If they make mistakes, just correct the word for them while laughing and playing.
8. Employ all your senses in the learning process
Children use all their senses in any activity they do. They like to touch, taste and smell everything.
So when you want to teach your kids Arabic language, let them use all their senses. Add some tactile elements to your toolbox.
For example, if you are teaching him about colors, foods, roses, etc., put a fruit for them to taste, a rose to smell…
Use some alphabet blocks, flashcards and plastic letters to motivate your kids.
9. Be Positive
The kids are innocent creatures who are highly affected by almost every word, especially their parent’s opinion. Therefore, you have to be careful with what you say to your kids, as a negative feedback may destroy their self-confidence. To avoid any negative impact, always give your kid a positive feedback even when you are correcting their Arabic spelling and homework.
Additionally, you have to praise and congratulate your kid for even the smallest of wins.
If your kid is making mistakes, try to say something encouraging like: “I am very proud that you are trying hard to read this word”, “you are a strong child as you are not giving up…”
10. Enrol in one Arabic-Related Extracurricular Activity
As parents, we always look for new activities which can shape our kid’s personality and polish their talents. Now, we want to teach them Arabic, so why we don’t choose an activity that is related to culture and/or the language?
For the next activity, consider joining an Arab dance class, Arabic school, or joining an Arab singing ensemble, like the Arabic Voice Kids or Arabs Got Talent, etc.
If there is nothing available near you, talk with the Arabs around you and start your own activity as a group. Be sure that when kids see the parents involved in an Arabic activity, they will understand its importance.
When you talk Arabic at home, they will learn it faster and discover its secrets. On the other hand, if they feel that you are struggling to find time to teach them Arabic, they will lose their interest to participate.
11. Track the Habit, Build Success
Every kid responds well to certain things like a table, chart, diagram, etc, so check what your kid likes and use it in your teaching process. If he likes the tables, draw a table for him and put notes for each progress. At the end of the week or the month, check the progress of your kid, and try to give him a reward to encourage him. Include some happy faces, stars, stickers or anything else to encourage him.
12. Speak Arabic with your children
Whether you are perfect in speaking Arabic or not, you have to do it. Just try to speak it with your kids as much as possible. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from speaking Arabic with your kids, even if they don’t understand you at the current time, but they will do by time.
Don’t let anyone convince you to stop talking Arabic with your kids, as if you don’t practice it with them, you won’t be able to help them and you will forget it too.
13. Immerse your family with other families who talk Arabic
Surely, you can find some families around you who talk Arabic, so try to visit such families with your kids. Let your kids talk with them, play and express themselves. Even when they make mistakes, their friend can help them.
Some families travel to Arabic countries and just live with other families to practice their language.
14. It would be easier with older children
When your children are older, things will be much easier and learning Arabic will be faster.
Determine two hours a day to spend with your kids speaking Arabic, if they or you didn’t know the meaning of a word, you can just see it in the dictionary.
15- Buy different Arabic books, and not just religious ones
Some people think that if they have to buy Arabic books, they must get religious ones. Actually no, there are many kinds books other than Din. Arabic includes sciences, mathematics, geography, arts, music and much more. There are also a big variety of words and expression in Arabic, so you have to learn it to express yourself and your feelings.
16. Design new activities and competitions for learning Arabic
Sometimes you need to do a kind of competition between your kids, or between them and their friends to motivate them to learn more and try their best to learn Arabic and improve themselves.
Try to invent some funny activities for them like divide the kids into two teams, tag several things around the house, and ask each kid to say the names. If they could not know the meaning, then you can ask the other team to guess the name. Remember to give the winners a reward to encourage them and encourage the other team to improve themselves next time.
Personal Experience in teaching Arabic:
A man succeeded in teaching his kid Arabic using some of the above techniques.
A family made up of a Brazilian woman and Lebanese man wanted to teach their kid Arabic language.
The father saw that they are quickly losing their authentic language, and he was so keen to teach his kid Arabic, so he used to take him once a week to spend the day with other Lebanese families and drop him off at the end of the day. Additionally, the father was paying his kid 5 dollars for each day he spends speaking Arabic language only.
Have you got an experience in teaching your kids Arabic language? It would be helpful if you can share it in the comment below.