These are sentences you can say to your children to help them feel more confident about speaking English:
- I think you are very clever.
- Your English is very good. I don't think your friends know that word yet.
- Do you know this word? Very good. (Make sure you ask them about a word they already know)
- Do you know this word? It's (hammer). Can you say hammer? Very good.
- I am very happy when you speak English. When I was your age I could not speak English.
- I feel very proud when you say words in English.
- It is okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Don't worry.
- Do you like this word - "elephant"? Do you want to try to say it? WOW! You said it perfectly. Good job!
Advice for encouraging English:
It is important that your children don't feel afraid to speak English. If they do it is because they are afraid of making a mistake. The best thing you can do is show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. You must show them that speaking English is easy. You must speak English and not worry. If you don't worry about your own English, then your child won't worry about his/hers either.
It is important that you try to make English fun, open and creative. I will write a separate post about this soon. Until then, try to play some games in English (see my earlier post about English games).
If you want your child to feel more confident about speaking English in public or in school, you should try to change the location of where you usually speak English. For example, if you and your child usually speak English in the bedroom, try moving to the kitchen and speaking English there. Then move to the dinner table and speak English there. Then stand on chairs and speak English there. Then move to the front door and speak there. Then move just outside the front door. Then move further outside. Always keep some time in the bedroom (or wherever you usually speak English) so that your child can keep that place as their favorite spot. But change the locations slowly (over several days or weeks) and let your child adjust.