Wyatt Ince, Instructor

Kids' shows aren't just for kids anymore: Language learning for parents

If you've spent any time at all with children, it won't surprise you to learn that they hold the key to language learning. Children learn languages quickly and without self-judgment, and as any parent can tell you, they learn vocabulary all too well!

Children and adults alike are quick to experiment with the sounds and rhythm of the language, practicing and repeating words just to hear the sound of them. We underestimate the importance of hearing the language in understanding it.

Rather than engaging in grammar workbooks or isolated vocabulary, enjoy a bit of television with your children—and spoil your inner child's curiosity at the same time—by watching something together (or by yourself). You have the opportunity to hear the language as it's spoken, and you get to have fun while you do it.
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Remember, it's not about understanding everything, but you'd be surprised at how much you follow by watching a show together as a family. Often, media for adults involve off-screen conspiracies, drama, or intrigue that don't lend themselves to keeping pace, but children's shows offer useful vocabulary, clear speech, and on-screen entertainment designed for the whole family.

Tips & Suggestions:

  You can have subtitles on, but they should be in your target language.

  Keep a notebook of words you hear. You can always look them up later.

  Come back to the movie a few times and you'll find your comprehension grows every time!
About the Author: Wyatt Ince

Wyatt holds an MA in Spanish Language and Literatures from Texas State University where he wrote his thesis on colloquialisms (expressions, phrases, and swearing!) and second language instruction. Having travelled extensively in several different Spanish-speaking countries (including Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), his heart remains in Spain with many of his friends. Whether chatting en la terraza o tomando el sol en la playa con un libro, Wyatt is happy living the quiet life while travelling.

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