One of the great things about the internet age is that it is so easy to find entertainment – both for ourselves and the kids. When it comes to children’s programs, however, it can be hard to find the right balance between what is enjoyable and fun for them, and what is educational. Thanks to services like Netflix, however, there is an easy way to get the best of both worlds – getting your kids into cartoons, movies and other shows in foreign languages, and having them watch with subtitles!
This may seem like a strange idea, if the idea of subtitles makes you think of boring, arty movies in French or Italian that no child is going to want to watch, but actually there is some great international stuff on Netflix. Japanese anime, for example, is really appealing to kids (as long as you only choose shows aimed at children – in Japan cartoons are a medium for adults too so some anime series are geared towards older audiences). Kids who love music, dancing and beautiful costumes may be enthralled by Bollywood movies. There is plenty out there you and your kids might love, and you can check out Netflix Guides to get some ideas.
Here are three benefits to your kids watching foreign language television:
Improve Their Reading Skills
Books are great, but kids tend to want some visual entertainment too some of the time. With subtitled TV, they have to read to follow what is going on, so they will be improving their reading skills without even realizing they are learning! Sure, a cartoon robot battle might not seem like the most educational thing in the world, but when the dialog is in the original Japanese, reading, and associating what they are reading with what is happening on screen, are actually valuable exercises.
Pick Up Some Foreign Words
Anybody who watches a lot of shows from another language starts to recognize the odd word from that language. Kids’ brains are great at learning the patterns that make up languages, and so watching subtitled TV can help them soak up new words like a sponge. They may even become passionate about a language from watching things like anime, and want to actually start studying it so they can understand more and emulate their favorite characters.
Learn About Other Cultures
It might not seem likely that there is much to learn about countries and cultures from their cartoons and other fiction, but there is plenty in there to inspire them to ask questions that can be a good way to introduce them to ideas about other cultures. You can use the shows as ways to introduce facts to them yourself, too, for instance telling them what the foods and clothes they see in them are called and the currencies the characters are using.
If your child loves watching TV and is always on the lookout for new movies and series to get into, why not browse the foreign language stuff on Netflix and start introducing them to international TV?