How can you help children learn Dutch as a second language as a parent? Children learn a language in safe and interactive environments where there is a lot of talking, for example, at home, at school, or a sports club.
As parents, there are several ways you can help your child learn the Dutch language, even if you do not yet speak Dutch. After all, your mother tongue is essential and the basis for learning another language.
Talking, singing, and reading together significantly impact language development. This blog will find some language activities you can do at home with your children in your native language. If you also speak Dutch, you can alternate the use of the two languages.
Helping language activities
- Have conversations about everyday things and events experienced (while cooking, at the supermarket). Ask open-ended questions: “What should I do next? “What do you think will happen next? “, “What do we buy in this store? “, etc.
- Making up stories together.
- Practice together writing, for example, your name, names of your family members or relatives, what he experienced today, or writing a bill to a friend.
- Talking together about a book you have read. Asking questions about the story.
- Talking together about topics that interest your child. For example, cars, animals, school, the sea, etc.
- Watching Dutch-language children’s programs together: On SchoolTV you can search by age and subject; Clockhouse is also a lot of fun. And the Youth News with news for children. Miss Rose on YouTube. The sand castle for toddlers and preschoolers. Sesame Street is not to be missed.
- Reading aloud is also a meaningful way to encourage language interaction. Read aloud in your native language. Tip: Join the online library (this is free for children). Ask the teacher what topic is covered at school and find a book to go with it together.
- Many books are read aloud in Dutch on YouTube. For example, ask the teacher if they know a book (link) for you.
- Tip: YouTube has subtitles for many videos. So for example, if your child likes to watch Paw Patrol, let him watch it with subtitles in Dutch, or in Dutch and the subtitles in your language.
The more children are exposed to the Dutch language, the faster they will master the language. If you live in the Netherlands, we always recommend that children attend sports clubs, scouts, neighborhood activities, etc. Here they will be further immersed in the language.
Learning Dutch for parents
Would you like to learn (even better) Dutch yourself? Then check out these websites:
Online help in learning Dutch as a second language
At Dutch for Children, we can further help your child learn Dutch as a second language. We teach in a playful way that fits well with your child’s age and background.
To give an example: Your child has learned only in English and speaks English at school and in her daily life. At home, your child hears Dutch but does not speak it. Your goal is to ease the transition to the Netherlands by starting Dutch lessons now.
Your child likes drawing, playing with friends, and sports. We design the first lessons so your child can understand everything, where necessary, with some help from English. We start with the basics of getting acquainted and making friends and work a lot with pictures and examples on video. A first homework assignment can then be drawing a comic strip, in which the cartoon character makes a new friend. Your child does what he really enjoys, which is drawing and practicing his first words and short sentences in the theme of making friends.
Another example: Your toddler does not speak Dutch. You speak another language (or a little Dutch) at home. You would like him to start learning Dutch because you want to welcome Dutch back into your family. Our teachers work with hand puppets, themes, Dutch songs, and lots of movement. With the youngest children, we work with the parents! These parents are involved in a fun way in the Dutch online lessons for their children. Of course, some knowledge of Dutch is then required.
Contact helping learning Dutch
Have you become curious about our NT2 lessons, or do you know immediately that this would suit your child? Then please make an appointment with me, Wendy van Dalen, to discuss the possibilities online.
If you want to know first about which class would best suit your child, read more about the profiles on our website.