Navigating Japanese Language Learning for Your Child While Living Abroad

Japanese Language Learning, Living Abroad Child, Native Camp


Relocating abroad can be thrilling yet challenging, particularly for parents aiming to maintain their native culture and language within their family. For those in international marriages, on work assignments, or pursuing education abroad, teaching Japanese to your children might seem daunting.

This guide is crafted to assist parents of young children abroad in introducing and reinforcing the Japanese language effectively. From engaging teaching methods to critical considerations, we aim to provide practical solutions to common challenges faced in bilingual parenting.

Effective Strategies for Teaching Japanese to Children Abroad

An excellent starting point for young learners is the Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) method. This technique uses comprehensible input, starting with simple phrases and gradually increasing complexity through stories and visuals. It' tailored to engage children across different age groups by using relatable and understandable content, ensuring that learning remains both effective and enjoyable.

For additional resources, platforms like YouTube offer numerous TPRS instructional videos, providing accessible content to reinforce lessons at home.

Six Proven Methods to Foster Japanese Language Skills in Children

1. Singing and Reading Picture Books

Music and stories are universal languages that can significantly aid language acquisition. Incorporating Japanese songs, nursery rhymes, and picture books can make learning playful and engaging. It' important to discuss and explain the meanings behind the words and lyrics to deepen understanding and prevent rote repetition without comprehension.

2. Encouraging Spoken Japanese

Creating a natural environment for spoken Japanese can be as simple as involving children in everyday conversations about familiar topics, such as meals or animals. Encourage them to express their thoughts in Japanese, facilitating a two-way communication that enhances their comfort and fluency with the language.

3. Reading Aloud

Introducing written Japanese through hiragana and katakana in familiar contexts helps children recognize and memorize characters effectively. Use picture books they enjoy and engage them with questions about the characters and words they see.

4. Conversing in Japanese

In multilingual families, it' crucial to maintain consistency by having each parent speak only one language consistently with the child. This strategy helps children distinguish and learn languages without confusion.

5. Regular Interaction with Japanese Friends

If possible, regularly interacting with other Japanese families can provide children with a broader social context for using Japanese, enhancing their linguistic and cultural understanding.

6. Online Japanese Lessons

For families without access to local Japanese communities or schools, online programs like Native Camp offer structured and professional Japanese lessons. These can be a fantastic resource, providing flexibility and comprehensive coverage of the Japanese language.

Key Points to Consider in Teaching Japanese

While supplementary Japanese schools are an option, they may not suit every child. The intensive nature of these programs can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to a reluctance towards the language. It' crucial to monitor your child' response to such settings and adjust accordingly.

Creating a Positive Language Learning Environment

Ensuring that your child' interaction with Japanese remains enjoyable is vital. Forced learning can lead to aversion, which counteracts educational goals. Integrating Japanese through songs, stories, and natural conversation can make the process more delightful and effective.


Teaching your child Japanese while living abroad encompasses various methods—from interactive songs and books to formal online lessons. Assess your child' needs, interests, and learning style to select the most suitable approach. Consider exploring platforms like Native Camp for structured learning experiences designed to enhance language skills in a flexible, engaging manner. This comprehensive approach ensures that your child not only learns Japanese but also grows to love it.