How to Set a French Language Fluency Goal for Your Child + a Plan to Reach It
Do you have a specific bilingual language goal for your child when it comes to learning French?
I mean, moving beyond the "I want my child to learn a second language" idea.
You can start there, for sure, but as a goal, it's a little too vague.
Getting really clear on what you want to achieve - the level of French fluency you ultimately want for your child - is super important because:
- You'll know the outcome you're aiming for, and
- How much time you'll need to dedicate to get there.
I'd love to walk you through some tips on creating goals for your child's French language learning journey to help set you and your kids up for success!
The 2 Types Of French Language Goals
- The Big Vision Goal
This is the level of fluency you'd love to see your child reach in the long run.
Setting a big vision goal will give you an idea of how much French language exposure your child will need and the work you'll have to put in to get there.
That last part is super important, parent.
If you want your child to be completely fluent in French, it's obviously going to mean a bigger commitment in time and effort.
Starting on this journey with realistic expectations about what can be achieved in what time frame will minimize disappointment and frustration you may feel along the way.
That icky "I'm totally failing at this French teaching stuff!" feeling is something I talk about here... because you know what, we ALL feel like that at some point.
If you're juggling a million things (because #parentlife) and at this stage aren't able to realistically spend more than X number of hours each week teaching your child French, make sure your goal is in line with the time.
You also need to consider your own level of competency with French and the resources available to you.
Will you have access to tutors, a nanny, or a relative who is a native French speaker? Or will you be teaching the kids yourself with the help of resources?
Here are a few general ideas of what level of fluency you might aim for in French:
- Passive Bilingual: When your child hears French, they are able to understand it and can speak some words and simple phrases in the language.
- Active Bilingual: They understand and speak French, but don't necessarily read or write it.
- Literate Bilingual: They understand, speak fluently, read, and write in French.
- Smaller Progress Goals: These are the smaller daily or weekly goals to keep you on track for the Big Vision goal, like reading a bedtime story in French twice a week or a 10-minute French video lesson each morning.
The bottom line? Set goals that inspire you and your child to do your best, but that are also realistic and achievable with the time and resources available to you.
Create A Basic (And Flexible!) Plan To Reach Each Goal
I'm totally emphasizing the basic and flexible point here... don't overwhelm yourself!
Break the goals down into smaller chunks. Let's say for the first month of starting to learn French, you might focus on using flashcards and introduce 3 new French words at a time.
In the second month, you might up the ante and add a short video lesson a few times a week.
Or if your child is a toddler, choose a daily routine to focus on introducing the first words. Say you choose the bath time routine, you could begin with words like bath, towel, soap, etc.
Then you could move along to the dinner time routine, and so on.
We want to set ourselves up for success, not frustration, and a big part of that is maintaining flexibility.
Ok, so Tuesday night was supposed to be reading bedtime stories in French, but this week it just didn’t happen. Don’t stress, there are plenty more Tuesday nights on the horizon!
What Learning Tools / Experiences Will You Use?
There are so many great tools out there to teach your child French - even for parents who don't speak a word of it themselves.
Flashcards... how I love thee, let me count thy ways!
Seriously though, picture and word flashcards proved to be a super effective tool for me to teach my kids new languages. Kids are visual learners, so the pictures will help them learn new words faster.
Toys for learning through play
Toys are a great way to help your child learn French through unstructured play. Some toy recommendations to get you started include Duplo, Schleich Animals, and Grimm's Blocks.
Play-based lessons are a major part of our Cultured Kid lessons that parents receive every single week - you won't be stuck for ideas on how to engage your kids through play.
Video learning is great for parents who are non-native speakers and want to expose their child to a more fluent example of the language and accent. Kids can absorb the language while watching fun visuals or cartoon characters involved in adventures.
If the goal is for your child to read and write in French, they will need to be exposed to written materials all the time. This can begin at the preschool level and progress along with their primary language reading and learning.
For parents who want to make French stick as quickly as possible, enrolling your child in an immersion program is definitely an option. Your child will spend a large portion of their day, or all of it, learning French in a natural way with native speakers.
Home-based learning programs
Joining a language learning program is a huge help if you aren't sure where to start, are a non-native speaker, or just want to be part of a community of other parents on the same journey!
Our Languages For Kids membership gives you access to The Cultured Home. This super practical program has been designed specifically to help non-native speakers teach their kids French.
The program includes:
- Immersive Topical Language Videos
- Phonetic Topical Flashcards
- Read Aloud Books
- Curated Language Song Playlists
- Interactive Games
- Play-based Lesson Plans designed to provide a 30-Minute Lesson and
- Age-Appropriate Language Activity Sheets.
Our weekly lessons make it easy to fit lessons into your week at home at your own pace and give you a structure/guide to work with.
Remember, teaching your child French can be a fun and rewarding experience. With clear goals, a flexible plan, and the right tools and resources, you and your child can embark on an exciting language learning journey together.
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Even if you're not fluent!
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