Going on holiday with children? Going to a country where English is not the first language? Here are some tips from us to help make the holiday a bit easier, and to encourage your children to learn to enjoy learning about the country and its language too!
· Talk to your children about the language/s spoken at your destination. Help them to understand that not everybody speaks the same language.
· Learn some key phrases together. Words like “please” and “thank you” in the local language can bring a much better level of service, especially when uttered by the younger members of the party!
· Find out about the local food specialities and talk about what you might like to try. Sounding excited about it will help to encourage your child to try new things.
· If you have a real favourite food, see if you could take some with you. A few familiar snacks can go a long way to soothing tired and frustrated children. They can also be life-savers if the flight is delayed!
· While on your holiday, try to point out words and phrases that you know. Keeping an eye out for things such as “toilet”, “exit” or even “ice cream” can entertain the youngsters in a strange town and help them to see the point of learning a new language.
· Why not encourage your child to use the language themselves? The sense of pride when they successfully buy bread at the baker, ask for their own ice cream, or order the train tickets themselves (depending on age) is something that could stick with them for a long time.
· Think about the worst case scenario – what if your child gets lost? Consider giving them a contact card to keep in a pocket. It could include key information such as their name, the languages they speak, any medical conditions and your mobile number or accommodation details. A bit of time taken to get this information in the destination language could save a lot of time and hassle if your little one gets lost. You could do the same for adults too, just in case!