1. Using Vocabulary Lists
One of the biggest mistakes when learning Spanish for kids is focusing too much on vocabulary lists. Yes, vocab lists are great for a kid learning Spanish, but they can be boring.
They also aren’t very useful when it comes to getting your child to speak the language. Instead, use vocab lists to help kids in Spanish lessons or classes, but don’t ignore other materials.
2. Studying Grammar Rules
Spanish for children should be fun, so don’t focus too hard on grammar. Of course, grammar matters, but your child should be able to make mistakes when learning.
Making mistakes in Spanish is expected in many Spanish lessons for kids. Let kids learn by making small grammar mistakes, and they can understand the correct usage more easily.
3. Reading Phrasebooks
Phrasebooks can seem like a great tool to help in kids Spanish lessons. However, the phrases can be very basic, and they may not help you or your child learn the language.
Depending on the phrasebook, it may include things that native speakers never say. A kid learning Spanish should learn similar to a native Spanish speaker with suitable materials.
4. Ignoring False Friends
False friends, or false cognates, are words that may look similar in English and Spanish but mean different things. A popular example is assistir, which means “to watch” not “to assist.”
When learning Spanish for kids for free, you may come across these false friends. You should figure out what the words mean in Spanish to use them correctly.
5. Never Speaking Spanish
It may sound simple, but not speaking Spanish can make it harder to learn Spanish for kids. Think about how they learned English: by talking and listening.
If possible, have adults speak Spanish around the kids. When the kid learning Spanish is old enough to talk, they can start to speak up to get practice. That way, they can learn how to speak the language and build their confidence.
6. Not Practicing Regularly
Like any other skill, Spanish learning for kids requires regular practice. Your child doesn’t need to practice Spanish for hours each day.
However, they should practice a bit every day to keep up with what they’ve learned. Then, they won’t forget new words or phrases, and they can keep getting better.
7. Relying on Google Translate
In Spanish, Google Translate may be over 90 percent accurate. However, you shouldn’t rely on it when giving children’s Spanish lessons.
For one, up to ten percent may be inaccurate. But Google Translate’s job is to translate phrases, not to provide Spanish lessons for kids. Instead, use it when you forget a word rather than come up with what to teach your child.
8. Not Using Authentic Materials
Of course, Don Quixote isn’t the best book to use in a Spanish lesson for kids. But your child should use authentic materials to help learn the language.
Look for books and television shows in Spanish instead of a Spanish dub of an English show. Disney Plus has some excellent options, such as Soy Luna and Violetta, and they’re age-appropriate.
9. Combining Too Many Resources
Learning Spanish for children can be exciting, and your child gets to learn well since they’re still young. But you need to figure out which resources are the best for helping your child learn.
If you try to combine too many books, websites, and shows, your child may get overwhelmed. In the beginning, start with a couple of resources to help your child. Then, when you finish one book, you can move on to another one.
10. Not Focusing on One Dialect
Another problem with combining a lot of places to learn Spanish for kids for free is that they may teach conflicting dialects. The most obvious difference is Iberian (Spain) Spanish compared to Latin American Spanish.
Speakers in Spain have a whole extra set of verb conjugations. Even within Latin America, the vocabulary that speakers use in different countries varies, just like it does in English.
11. Learning on Their Own
Another one of the biggest mistakes in Spanish education for kids is having kids learn on their own. Your child should either go to a Spanish class or have someone to learn from.
If you or a family member speaks Spanish, they can serve as the child’s conversation partner. They can also answer any questions your child has about the language. And if no one speaks Spanish, you can enroll your child in a class to learn with other students. Whether it’s in person or online, it’s so important to have someone to practice with and keep you accountable.
12. Not Understanding How They Learn
There are four common learning styles, including auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing, and visual. Fortunately, you can find materials in Spanish for kids who learn in all of those ways.
Knowing your child can make learning Spanish for toddlers and older kids more enjoyable. If they learn in a way that makes sense for them, they may learn more efficiently. Then, they can make progress and want to keep learning.
13. Giving Up When It Gets Hard
Another one of the biggest mistakes in Spanish that kids make is quitting too early. Even if your kid learns Spanish easily at first, they’ll eventually hit a point where it gets difficult.
At that point, you’ll need to encourage your child to keep learning. Maybe you introduce them to a new show in Spanish, or you take a trip to a local restaurant where the staff speaks it. Then, your child can continue learning a new language and push through the tough parts.
It's Okay to Make Mistakes in Spanish
Making mistakes in Spanish is normal, and it shouldn’t keep you or your child from learning. However, you should know about some significant mistakes that can make learning Spanish for kids boring. Then, your child will be able to build their vocabulary and communicate in a second language. Learning a second language is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your kid, so check out Amphy for more Spanish resources for the whole family.