So your child is a little older and you’re suprised to see that they can hardly speak a word of Yoruba…not to worry it’s not too late.
How you can teach your child Yoruba
1. If you don’t have anything nice to say…
When it comes to teaching a child a new language you need to put on your educator hat, meaning that you have to make sure you’re being patient, encouraging and have a regular schedule for teaching it.
Another thing, which is probably the most important thing is….try not to laugh.
It may seem like a small thing, but with learning languages children can be very sensitive, I can’t tell you how many friends of mine from many different tribes in Nigeria, can hardly speak their native languages because they attempted it one day and their parents burst into laughter and they just decided never again.
So you can invoke your inner AY and Falz the Bad Guy in other areas, but with Yoruba try to keep it to a minimum.
2. Rome wasn’t built in a day…
Start off small.
I’ve seen quite a few different resources just start throwing full sentences at children without properly explaining each of the individual words in the sentence, this approach can be overwhelming and discouraging especially if your child is a little older.
So an ideal approach would be to incorporate a few new words per week into your conversations with your little one. Instead of saying good morning you could start with a simple káàárọ̀, followed by quickly explaining why they can’t reply káàárọ̀ to you and need to add an ẹ in front of it.
Have a schedule in place, to make sure that you’re truly building up on your child’s vocabulary. This could be in the form of little calendar reminders of which Yoruba word your going to teach your child that day.
3. For the Busy Bees
For the very busy mummies and daddies.
Sometimes our schedules just don’t allow for active Yoruba teaching, and that’s absolutely fine.
There are other ways that your children can greatly develop their Yoruba, on their own.
Best of all they are fun and effective to encourage your child to keep coming back to learn more.
4. You need to feel it to believe it…
There’s nothing like learning a language with physical flashcards.
Engaging the different senses in the learning journey, making it a much more engaging experience.
We created Yoruba flashcards to help children learn the Yoruba alphabet, Yoruba greetings, phrases and Yoruba pronunciation.
They’re the perfect place to start, when you have no idea where to start.
5. If at first you don’t succeed…
Don’t give up.
Trying to teach a big kid or a teen a new language is no small task, it requires patience, persistence and diligence.
At the beginning it may seem like your child will never become fluent, that the progress being made is too small. Remember that progress is progress, you just want to be sure that your child is advancing even if it’s at a slower rate.
Remember, it’s less important how long it takes your child to start being able to speak Yoruba, but more important that they’re improving, growing and learning how to express themselves in Yoruba even if it’s in just a few things.
Being able to express themselves doesn’t mean that their grammar or punctuation will be perfect, it more so means that you get the general idea of what they are saying or what they are asking.
The ball’s in your court
So these are my top tips for how to teach your child Yoruba, if you have any specific questions for me or would like some more recommendations on learning Yoruba, feel free to email me at email@example.com