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7 Ways Busy AF Parents Can Learn Languages (And Stay Sane!)

mommy-moves

Real life hits hard sometimes. 

Work, bills, exhaustion, an empty fridge…I could go on.

Hey, sometimes we gotta adopt a new mindset and form new habits. 

But us parents are busy. AF.

Trust me, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to read this post. 

I’ll leave you with some ways to sneak in language immersion anywhere, anytime.

7) Make language to-do lists.

You can use an app (I’ve been using SplenDo for years) or go with pen and paper

Once you do this long enough, you’ll probably complete language learning tasks without even thinking.

Until then, write it down somewhere you won’t forget to look! 

6) Practice your self-talk.

This is my favorite way of practicing because it’s simple. 

If you like to pretend that you’re interviewing yourself or holding a conversation with somebody, this can be a lot of fun.

5) Take a break.

Rest.

Depending on your goals, learning a language may not be a priority right now. 

And that’s OK. Look up memes that make you laugh or watch funny YouTube videos.

You’ll probably come across one of your target languages when you least expect it.

4) Sign up for spam.

If you check your email often, this may be a good way to ensure small doses of your target language. 

As long as the email is in your target language, you don’t even have to bother opening it. The subject line is usually enough to remind you that there’s still so much to learn. 

I recommend signing up for online news outlets or tabloids. For Japanese I use まぐまぐニュース.

I can’t remember when I signed up for まぐまぐニュース but I love that it’s a constant in my life. I actually learn about current events from a different perspective sometimes. 

And the best part is that these are like mini lessons. I learn a word or two and then I go about my day.

3) Automate your life.

There’s always one part of your life that can be made easier. 

It could be paying to have your laundry done, getting your groceries delivered to you, or even automating your bills. 

Even if it just frees 5 minutes of your day, it’s worth it. 

On a language learning note, I program my phone’s personal assistant Bixby (the Samsung equivalent of Siri or Alexa) to play kid songs in Spanish during my commute to my son’s daycare

It keeps him at peace and I get my Spanish in for the day. 

2) Listen during downtime.

Speaking of commutes, I love using those times to listen to my language playlists or podcasts on Spotify. 

Black Girls Learn Languages has an awesome German-language hip-hop and R&B playlist.

Here’s one for R&B in Japanese that I put together

If I have time I will look up the lyrics but it’s nice to listen to a song over and over and discover words on your own. 

I listen to the podcast Rekishi Radio (History Radio) in Japanese. For me, learning something new in another language is a fun and challenging at the same time. Especially if it coincides with your interests.  

But sometimes I prefer having conversations to listening to them. Which brings us to my number 1 way to learn a language as a busy parent…

You can get real strategies for incorporating your passion with your love for languages. All in socially conscious language guide for Black linguists at all levels. 

Melanated-language-learning

You can get real strategies for incorporating your passion with your love for languages. All in socially conscious language guide for Black linguists at all levels. 

1) Attend language exchanges.

In-person or virtual. 

I still keep in touch with many of my language partners. Some for over a decade now! 

Where to find language partners? If you’re looking for help translating something, here are some ways to go about finding helpful people

I’ve joined several Facebook groups, including a German-Japanese language tandem group.

Making language exchanges work for you depends on your efforts.

I used to do weekly paid exchanges (money is a great motivator). I’m considering one for Spanish. 

If you prefer to do language exchanges in person, consider using meetup

And most importantly, have fun! Sometimes your exchanges won’t be as exciting as some. That’s OK. You’ll find the right language partner(s) if you keep it up.

Good luck with setting your language goals for 2022! Remember, baby steps. 

Errol de Jesús

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Errol de Jesús

Multilingual Mommy

Welcome to my blog. By day I’m a copywriter helping mission-driven brands grow. And by gosh I’m a busy single mom raising her autistic son multilingual. I speak Japanese, Spanish, and SEO—also currently learning German!

What languages do you speak?

Errol de Jesús

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