Timing. When to teach Spanish to children.


Learning Spanish situations can happen during many moments in the day.  However knowing your child and your routine will help you determine the best moments to teach it.  Before starting take a look at our resources and free printables for inspiration!

It’s a good idea to have a formal teaching time at least twice a week, and then informal teaching times the rest of the days.  When selecting these times, make sure your child is not tired.  A formal session should last between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on your child’s attention span.  An informal session is meant to be short, around 10 minutes tops, but may be increased if your child still has interest.


Formal Teaching Times

Besides using moments from your daily routine, you could also choose a specific time/s in the week to teach the language.  You can call it “La hora de Español!” and use this time to teach new vocabulary, grammar and practice phrases that not necessarily would come up in your daily routine.

Example of a Formal Teaching Time

  1. Introduce New Language

         Expose the child to the new language.  Use real objects (realia), flash cards, books or body language.  Start with 5 to 10 vocabulary words and a phrase.  Say the name of word and ask your child to repeat after you.

  1. Practice the Language

         Use a game or activity to practice the language.  For example, play a memory game or lotto game and ask the child to repeat after you when s/he doesn’t know.  As you play check for understanding, and reinforce them positively.

  1. Closure and Ending

         When the activity is done, and while putting things away, take the opportunity to review the language once more.  For example, as you are putting the memory pieces away, say to your child some of the words and asks/he to repeat them.  It’s OK if you don’t get to practice all the words/phrases again!

  1. Extension

         Extension can happen in various ways.  If your child continues to be interested, you can extend the lesson by adding another short activity.

Also, your child may use the word in a different context.  You can seize the opportunity to review and add new material.


Informal Teaching Times

         These are spontaneous moments that can happen at any moment in your day.  Your child or you can initiate them.  For example if you are riding in the car and your child starts practicing the letters out loud.  This can turn into a game where you say one letter and then your child follows with the next.  These times are shorter than a formal time or routine, about 5 minutes long.  Stop sooner if your child starts to loose interest.

Example of an Informal Teaching Time

  1. Language comes up

         The child spontaneously says the name of a clothing item when you are dressing him.

  1. Feedback and addition

            Parent gives feedback to the child, reinforcing the language or correcting.  Then, the parent continues by adding or saying the name of something s/he is wearing.  The child repeats it.  This can go back and forth until the child loses interest.