Learning a new language can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t speak that language fluently but want your child to become fluent. If you want your child to learn Chinese and want to make it easier for them, here are some tips that will help!
1) Learn Chinese with your child.
You don’t need to be fluent in Chinese to help your child speak the language. If anything, it can be helpful if you are a beginner as well so that you and your child can learn together. It can be a great bonding experience, and best of all, you get to learn a new language along with your kid!
Younger children learn by copying others. I’m sure you’ve noticed your child repeating phrases that you like to say and adopting similar body language and expressions as you.
Younger kids are soaking everything up like a sponge and still learning about how the world works. They are observing everything and everyone around them. That’s why if they see you also learning Chinese, they will feel more enthusiastic about learning because they see that you’re doing it too.
By learning Chinese with your child, you will also better understand the journey of learning a new language and can find ways to help you and your child remember words, phrases, and characters in a more meaningful way.
2) Watch movies and cartoons in Chinese.
The most effective way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in that language. Even if you don’t live in a community where a lot of people speak Chinese, you and your child can get used to hearing the language by watching movies, TV shows, and cartoons in Chinese. You and your child will also learn about Chinese culture while having fun.
3) Learn Chinese songs with your child.
4) Print out Chinese characters and post them around your home.
Chinese characters can look complicated at first glance, but once you are familiar with the characters, they become much easier to read and recognize.
A great way for you and your child to learn Chinese characters is to print out some Chinese character flashcards and tape them around your home and on your fridge.
5) Schedule real-life or online play dates with children who are fluent in Chinese.
Children learn best when they’re playing and having fun. They will also feel more motivated to learn Chinese if they hear their peers speaking Chinese. When I taught at international schools, my preschool and kindergarten students were from all over the world and spoke a variety of languages. Many of my students picked up a third language just by playing with their international friends!
You can find Chinese speaking children at your child’s school, playgroup, or even among your friends and colleagues at work. Most parents want their child to develop good social skills and make friends and would be more than happy to have a fun language exchange playdate. You can also schedule online play dates via Zoom if your child’s Chinese language study buddy lives too far!