One of the most beautiful moments in life is hearing your child talk and express herself. To be able to express themselves is one of the most vital requirements of children’s’ growth. Children are eager learners and can learn languages with ease.They have an innate ability to learn any language from birth. It is observed that children who have strong knowledge of their mother tongue find it easier to learn new languages. A child’s mother tongue contributes largely to her overall development. It is believed that languages act as a bridge for the transfer of skills and knowledge among children. Whatever a child learns in her mother tongue gets transferred over to other languages that are taught in school. It becomes easier for the child to relate to this knowledge transfer. Children are observed to be more focused and flexible in their thought process as they can process information in various languages.
As parents, the best way to contribute and support in your child’s linguistic development is by spending time with her. Reading them a book, holding discussions, offering to tell a story and supporting and encouraging her to learn different languages will help her in her journey to honing her multilingual skills.
Importance of Mother Tongue for Children
The term ‘mother tongue’ refers to the language a child usually learns in her home from her parents. A child born to bi-lingual parents would have more than one mother tongue. Strong knowledge of languages helps in promoting effective communication for a lifetime. For a child, the first interaction and comprehension about the world outside happen with the language that is first introduced to her. Mother tongues form the base for your child in shaping her thinking skills and helps in enhancing her speech as well as cognitive development.
1. Makes Communication Easy
It is known that bilingual education assists in brain growth and helps the child become a multi-tasker. Children with exposure to more languages are easily able to adapt to different cultures.
2. Helps in Overall Development
A good understanding of their mother tongue help children in critical thinking and developing their literacy skills. These are the skills that they build on in their formative years.
3. Helps Develop a Strong Identity
Mother tongues help a child to connect with her roots and develop a strong personal and social identity. This helps her relate to her cultures and develop a sense of deeper understanding.
4. Builds the Foundation to Learn Other Languages
Knowing and being able to understand one’s mother tongue helps her relate to other languages very easily. It allows her to transfer her own understanding of the sentence structures and grammar to new languages effortlessly.
5. Able to Communicate with Their Grandparents
Grandparents play a significant role in the upbringing of children. Most are not well versed in other languages apart from their own mother tongue. Knowing the mother tonge would help the children in communicating with their grandparents and learning a lot of life experiences from them.
How to Teach Your Mother Tongue to Your Child
Parents today find it very challenging to continue interacting in their mother tongue with their children because of the English language becoming predominant in schools. Most popular programmes on TV that attract children are in English. On joining school, they are taught in English. Since it is very easy for a child to learn a language, they tend to show their inclination towards English which is a predominant language of this time. The mother tongue or language is getting alienated in this process. Most children do not understand their mother tongue beyond rudimentary levels. As parents, it is your responsibility to expose your children to your mother tongue and encourage them to learn it along with other languages.
1. Teaching at Home
The best way to encourage a child to know her mother tongue is starting from home. The importance of mother tongue in education is very significant. You can design your own flashcards in your language and run them through quickly before bedtime. Try to make it funny as children tend to remember things that attract them more. Gradually when you see your child has made good progress, introduce her to the concepts and vocabulary.
2. Read Them Books
Children love to listen to stories. You can buy them books in your mother tongue to read through. In case you don’t find books in your mother tongue, you can ask your child to translate sentences. Make it a fun activity for her with plenty of rewards thrown in.
3. Organize Get-togethers
Try to organize or take part in a get-together with like-minded people who would have the same mother tongue and are willing to introduce it to their children. It will be fun for the children, and they will learn more quickly.
4. Always Communicate in Your Mother Tongue
Speak to your children in their mother tongue when they are at home. Take their help in doing small chores around the house and give them instructions in your mother tongue.
Mother tongues open the door to a lot of benefits which are going to stay with your child throughout her life. Encourage her to talk more and learn about her own mother language and help her create her own identity through it.
Also Read: Tips for Teaching Hindi to Kids