In this post: Learn how to get started learning with Habbi Habbi and get useful tips on how to make second (or beyond) language acquisition fun, engaging and rewarding from the beginning. Establish a foundation, keep learning in reach, nurture positive feelings & motivation and - best of all - make it a habit to get the most out of Habbi Habbi.
Table of contents:
- Practical Tips to Get Started: From unboxing your Habbi Habbi book, flashcards or puzzle to finding a place in your home, here are practical tips to get started.
- Nurturing a passion: Find out how to help your little one discover their passion and find motivation for language learning.
- Building a Habit: Learn how to incorporate Habbi Habbi into your daily life to reap the benefits of consistency.
- Parting Words of Wisdom: A few principles to remember along the journey.
Every child - and language learning journey - is unique, but keeping in mind a few simple guiding principles can help you start strong, build in the fun, and find your groove along the way. Use Habbi Habbi books as an easy-to-reach treat in your daily routine with your little one and watch their second (or beyond) language skills blossom.
Practical Tips to Get Started
Every inch of Habbi Habbi books, flashcards and puzzles are tappable - that means the Reading Wand (once it has been charged) can bring the material to life by reading aloud the text and giving voice to the vocabulary depicted in the illustrations. Young learners get instant feedback as they manipulate the wand - finding words, phrases and even music as they explore the content by themselves or with the guidance of a caregiver.
To make sure your little one has plenty of opportunities to engage, you can:
- Place your Habbi Habbi books and flashcards in a high traffic area: The easiest way to get started with Habbi Habbi books is to have your books and wand close at hand in the living room, playroom, bedroom, or any other space where your toddler or preschooler plays often.
- Arrange a toddler-friendly, Montessori style shelf: Ideally Habbi Habbi books and flashcards should be on a shelf near eye-level (eye-level for a toddler or preschooler to be precise) so that the enticing artwork can speak for itself. Let your toddler or preschooler be drawn to the bright covers and give them a chance to grab them off a shelf on their own. This post (Creating a Montessori Bookshelf: Insights from a bilingual Spanish Montessori Educator) walks you through the practical steps to create an inviting shelf for your toddler or preschooler.
- Place Habbi Habbi books and flashcards near relevant objects or activities: Match the location of a book and its subject. For example, you could put Book of Chores near a chore chart, In My Home near a dollhouse or play kitchen, and Things That Go near a toy box filled with cars & toy trucks.
Nurturing a passion
Your preschooler or toddler might just be finding their voice and learning a second (or beyond) language will give them a tool to unlock a whole world of exploration and discovery. As a parent or caregiver, you already know why languages are so important - as a means to communicate, as a mode of connection to loved ones and family - so part of your role will be modelling that passion and motivation for your little one.
Therefore, we recommend:
- Treating your Habbi Habbi books as a treat to be enjoyed, and not a chore: The interactive nature of the books, flashcards and puzzles is designed to draw in young learners and satisfy their natural curiosity.
- Giving your little one plenty of context for language learning: Tell your child why you want them to be immersed in another language. Whether it is a desire to share your heritage through family stories, a wish for them to explore the world through literature or travel, or a dream of fostering a lifelong love of learning, they will be inspired by your passion.
- Making Habbi Habbi an activity for the whole family: Let everyone in on the fun to really encourage your toddler or preschooler to make a positive association with language learning activities. Bring out a puzzle, Grassland Animals Bilingual Puzzle for example, and let your toddler or preschooler tap along as you solve it together.
Building a Habit
Habits are the key to sustaining any major undertaking. Motivation and passion can ebb and flow, but well-maintained habits will serve to keep your little one on track regardless of how hectic life may get.
To start, consider your current schedule and look for ways to incorporate Habbi Habbi books into your already established routine. This is called ‘habit stacking’ and it’s a simple way to add habits in your already busy life.
When incorporating Habbi Habbi books into your routine, think about what you already do daily and look for ways to fit a Habbi Habbi book into those events. For example:
- On a Walk to the Park - Bring Animals, Plants & Places with you to a park or outdoor space, where you might see squirrels, birds and butterflies.
- In the Morning - Read Healthy Habits with your toddler or preschooler as a waking-up book to talk about what you might plan to do for that day.
- Before a Family Dinner - Give your toddler or preschooler Foodie Friends during the meal prep time and talk to them about ingredients and dishes you plan to make.
- In the Car - Keep Things That Go on hand in the car, so your toddler or preschooler can make a game of spotting and naming the other vehicles around you.
- As a Bedtime Story - Any Habbi Habbi book works for a bedtime story, but My 7 Wishes for You makes for an especially sweet close to a busy day.
Everyone’s routine will look different, and yours can change over time too. As your young learner grows they will take their own path and develop their own interests - eventually your job will be to simply follow their lead.
Parting Words of Wisdom
For many journeys, the first step can be the hardest one to take. Here are a few principles to inspire you to put aside any fears and get started:
- Every little bit counts: Even the smallest changes you make can create a more immersive learning environment for your toddler or preschooler.
- Consistency is key: Learning happens step by step, which means that even 5 minutes a day spent engaged with the target language will be beneficial. It may take time and patience to see the results, but if you plant the seed and nurture the tree, you can trust that one day there will be fruit!
- Compassion is crucial: In any undertaking there are hurdles to jump and challenges to face. Be gentle with yourself and your family and keep trying. For more encouragement, find resources here, from free printables to blog posts by parents just like you.
- It’s never too early to start (and never too late): Your toddler or preschooler is learning and making new neural connections at an incredibly rapid pace. Even before they can speak, they are developing a receptive vocabulary and learning from the world around them. But rest assured, learning can happen at any age - so while it may be harder for you to keep up, you can (and should) challenge yourself to learn right alongside them.
If you liked this, you may also appreciate the following:
- 5 tips for raising bilingual kids, for heritage and non-native families - Concrete tips on ways to keep learning in reach and nurture motivation.
- Free printables - These free printables serve as inspiration and activities for getting your toddler or preschooler engaged on their own terms.
- 5 Toys & Games that Make Learning to Read Fun - Find more ways to make learning joyful and engaging for the whole family.
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Check out more bilingual resources from Habbi Habbi
We have lots more (fun stuff!) here at Habbi Habbi. You can explore our free resources such as bilingual printables, resource blog, and audiobooks. Of course, we also have our much loved magical Reading Wand, bilingual books, puzzles & flashcards. Our tools are currently available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Korean, and Hindi.
About our lovely guest contributor
Rose is a librarian by training and a freelance writer by trade. She hopes to raise an English-Spanish bilingual daughter, or at the very least pass on her love for language learning and exploration on to the next generation. She has a Master’s degree in Information Science and a to-read list a mile and a half long.