A Language Time-Out IS Okay!

Everybody needs a break every once in a while.

Imagine you take the longest hours at work and keep working hard every day for a couple of weeks straight. You’re bound to burn out at some point. Olympic athletes can go through this with the intensity of their schedules and training. So do lawyers, doctors, engineers… Fill a list with every profession in the world.

little-boy-reading-book_zpszgfpmzklEveryone needs a break, and sometimes so do your children.

I know a few families whose children refused to keep learning Chinese. And while there are a variety of different reasons for why they refuse to keep learning, letting them take a break is often the best course of action.

I think we can sometimes get blinded by the amount of time and money we invest into our children learning a new language. Taking a break is okay and, in some cases, even a necessity. And here are three factors you can consider if you ever find yourself in this situation:

1- It’s hard to learn when you’re overwhelmed

Be it in high school or college, at some point, we all met someone who claimed they did best when they were under pressure. That kid who always pushed studying and homework to the last day and ended up having to deal with a thousand problems simultaneously.

Those people might even end up getting the job done but think back to how well they did in comparison to those who weren’t as overwhelmed with work on the day before a test.

Sometimes learning a new language, English, and other activities can also be overwhelming for your children. If taking a break will allow your child’s brain to “reset” and cool off, doing so might even benefit their language learning in the long run.


2- Don’t make them resent the language

This point hit close to home for me as I was FORCED to take French all the way from 7th grade throughout college.
Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do, in this case learning a language, is the fastest way to make a person hate that language.

I don’t know how I’d feel about French if I hadn’t been forced to learn it like I did. Maybe I’d even enjoy it and end up teaching my son. However, that’s not how things went.

Being forced to learn it put a bad taste in my mouth that I never managed to let go. My teachers destroyed my self-esteem and, to this day, I refuse to speak French.


3- Put yourself in your child’s shoes.

Like an old Native American proverb warned: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”

Talk to your child and find out why he or she suddenly wants to take a break from the new language. More often than not that will be the best way to resolve the issue. Understand what they want to do and why.

To give you an example that taking a break from language learning is not such a terrible thing check out this article by Olly Richards . He might not be a kid, but in the blog post, Olly talks about his experience learning Arabic and how taking a break from Arabic turned out great for him.

As he said: While learning a new language, “remember you’re playing the long game.”

Remember, taking a break and letting go of the studies are two entirely different things. Let your child take a nice breather and relax, but don’t forget to bring them back to the study routine and watch how much a little break can benefit his or her studies.

Have you ever run into this problem? Did you let your child take that much-needed break? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below. And, as always, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page @our21stcenturykids for more news you can use.

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