If you are teaching your children English at home you might wonder about the best way to teach pronunciation. Will your children pick up your accent? Will they sound like a native speaker or not? How will they learn ‘th’ sounds and how to speak clearly?
Here are 6 tips for you about how to teach your children English pronunciation at home
1. Don’t worry about your accent
Research shows that our accents come from our environment, the community majority, not just our families. You might have seen this if you grew up in a different place to your parents, you don’t necessarily have the same accent or use the same words as them. When your children are using English they’ll have a variety of voices to listen to, so they won’t develop the same accent as you.
2. Learn about which sounds are important and which are not.
‘Th’ sounds are actually not that important to be understood when you’re speaking English. Often native-speakers don’t say these correctly every time. But apart from ‘th’ consonant sounds are important. So you should be able to say /r/ and /l/ for example or /b/ and /v/. Mixing up these sounds can lead to confusion so check your kids are getting it right. If you want to know more about what is important for clear English communication, please check out my pronunciation course here
3. Know that accents can change over time
If a child goes to live in America or the UK before the age of 12 or 13, they can easily pick up the same accent as those around them in that country. However if they move to an English-speaking country after that age, their accent will be harder to change – but it’s not impossible. Even after 12 or 13 years old our accents can be influenced by those around us, and that’s a sign of a good communicator.
4. Meet up with others
Meeting up with people, as much as possible, in real-life is great for teaching your children, not only that English is a real-life living language, but also that people have different accents and that’s ok. Do you have a community group in your area, where you can interact in English with other families? If not, why not start one yourself!
5. Use a range of resources
Don’t feel that you always have to use American or British resources. When your children start communicating with the world they’ll be talking to people from all the corners of the globe so the very best thing you can do is expose them to different accents and different ways of speaking English. Then, they will be truly global citizens.
6. Keep speaking
Above all, don’t give up! Teaching your children English at home might seem like a long and lonely road sometimes. But keep in mind the benefits for your children for becoming fluent and confident English speakers and how it will help them in the future. And mama, don’t forget about yourself. If you’d like to speak English more with other mothers from around the world, join Mums’ English Circle now.
How do you feel about teaching your children English pronunciation? I’d love to know your thoughts below!
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