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Learning a second language is unsurprisingly quite beneficial for child development. That’s not to mention the ability to communicate fluently with many more people around the world including those that speak Spanish and French (two of the most spoken languages worldwide).
Most parents probably don’t want the high cost or time commitment that comes with scheduled language classes or tutors. That essentially leaves you with the option of an online prerecorded program. It’s relatively cheaper and can be performed according to your (and your child’s) schedule.
With that said, parents might find it difficult to decide on what foreign language program to pick. There are many options available out there, some are good, others not so much. So, we’re here to help.
Following are the main factors you should consider when trying to choose a good language course for your child.
1. Target Age Group
First of all, before everything else, check the target age of the language program as advertised on their website. Some are great for toddlers and preschoolers while others are intended for older elementary schoolers or teens.
You don’t want to waste days or even hours doing research only to find that the course is not suitable for your kid’s age.
There always should be a clear mention of the target age. So, you should avoid any program that doesn’t mention it, or says something like “for all children ages” which is honestly nonsense. Because every age group has a unique learning capacity and requires a different form of teaching.
2. Languages Offered
Just like with the target age, from the get go, ensure that the program includes the specific foreign language you want to teach your child. This is especially important when the language you want is not really sought after such as Indonesian and Persian.
Of course, if you’re just looking for popular languages (e.g. Spanish), you probably won’t have an issue with most courses out there.
3. Program Cost
It makes sense to consider the cost of a language program for your kid before joining. This is essentially to ensure you can actually afford it.
Though based on our experience, the majority of programs won’t cost you more than $40 per month.
4. Parent Testimonials
On the language provider’s website, look for testimonials from parents. Some things to check are the following:
- Does each review include an actual photo of the person?
- Are there testimonial videos in addition to the text?
These two questions help to ensure the legitimacy of the testimonials and whether you should take them seriously or not.
5. Teaching Materials
Almost all foreign language programs do offer a trial period (for free or $1). There, you can test out the program and its contents before purchasing or subscribing.
When it comes to kid-friendly teaching materials, a crucial aspect to look for is variety. This is especially important for younger kids such as toddlers.
Some language courses revolve around a specific kind of item like online games or videos, which is quite limiting. There should be as various types of stuff as possible to maximize the child’s vocabulary learning and also avoid boring him. So, videos, songs, books, worksheets, flashcards, quizzes, and games are all helpful in diversifying the lessons.
You want to check how easy it is to teach the foreign language lessons to your kid. Here are some things to look out for:
- Do they provide you with a suggested schedule to follow?
- Are the lessons organized and easy to keep track of?
- Are there step-by-step instructions when needed?
All those things make the course more practical and faster for parents to implement.
7. Screen Time
It’s important to limit the screen time for kids as possible especially when they’re young.
Online language programs will definitely involve “online” content. But some do include items that can be printed and taught off-screen such as flashcards and written games.
Check whether the program is fully online or has some offline content (which is better).
8. Course Length
Assuming the language program has a suggested schedule, it’s a good idea to confirm how long it is designed to last.
In our opinion, there should be at least a year’s worth of content, if not more. This allows for more language learning opportunities for the child.
Those are the factors you want to consider when looking for a foreign language program for children. The most important ones are parent testimonials, teaching materials and lessons (#4,5,6).
Again, be sure to take advantage of the program’s trial period before buying. You will be able to fully test everything out and decide whether it’s good for your child or not.
We hope the article is helpful for you as a parent in choosing the right language course.
In case you just want to know the exact program to get, we recommend The Cultured Kid. Their course ticks all the points mentioned in this article. It’s geared towards kids aged 2-8 (including toddlers and preschoolers) and they offer a 7-day trial for only $1.