8 Quick Tips To Help Your Toddler Speak French

Are you a parent hoping to teach your child French? You may be wondering when you should start, and how to go about it. Look no further! Here are eight tips to help you encourage your child to speak French (or any other language).

Firstly, it's important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, so don't get too hung up on exact timelines. Generally, children begin to speak in correct sentences at around 24-30 months, and can be understood more by strangers at around 26-36 months. By the age of three, they can usually understand most of what adults say.

Here are some tips to help encourage your child's bilingual language development:

  • Start with a song!

Toddlers love singing and music. It's an awesome way to introduce new words in another language. Sing along with them, and you'll help them learn quicker.

  • Use fun actions to introduce new words.

Teaming actions with words will help your little one understand the new vocab you're introducing. Exaggerate your facial expressions and make expressive gestures to emphasise the word. Jump up and down, skip, clap, and hop all while using the French word to describe what you're doing. Your child is more likely to remember new words and their meaning when teamed with a fun action.

  • Double up.

Let's say it's bath time and your child's favourite bath toy is a green frog. Pick up the frog and in English say "Frog! Can you say frog?" Wait to see if your child responds. Then repeat in French. Stick with one toy or object repeating it over and over in both English and French. You could choose to focus on one word for each bath time, dinner time, etc.

  • Elaborate on their speaking attempts.

You can elaborate on your child's speaking attempts in both English and French. For example, if they say "truck," you can say "Yes, that's your big, yellow truck!" and then repeat the phrase again in French.

  • Describe what you're doing (and get used to one-sided conversations).

Talk your toddler through your everyday activities to help them learn new French words and understand what's happening. You can keep it to several specific times of the day, rather than all the time. You might choose afternoon playtime and the time you prepare dinner to use the new vocabulary.

  • Notice what grabs their attention.

When you're together, tune in and notice what your child is naturally interested in. He or she might seem fascinated by a bird in the front yard or pointing excitedly at a train going past. This is a great cue for you to make a comment and ask a question about what's grabbed their attention. Depending on your own level of fluency, you might ask a whole question in French. Or, if you're not a native speaker, and maybe you don't know the words for 'train' or 'bird' yourself, look them up afterward - yay for translation apps! Later on, you can show them some pictures of a train and a bird and repeat the new words.

  • Turn body language into words.

Before they can speak, toddlers use body language to tell us what they're feeling - or demanding! If your child is reaching for something or tugging on your pants, describe what they're doing in French.

  • Read, read, and read

Reading to your child every day is a great way to introduce them to the French language. Books are an obvious choice, but you can also read street signs, cereal boxes, and the names of products at the grocery store. Anything you read together will help your child learn new words and phrases.

Remember, learning a new language takes time and patience. Don't be discouraged if your child doesn't pick up French right away. With practice and persistence, your child can become fluent in French and achieve #bilingualgoals!


Discover how you can run consistent language lessons, that are fun and engaging and help your kids make the progress they deserve!

Even if you're not fluent!

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