Yes, you can help your child fall in love with Chinese
By Jia Ying, Ng on 15/05/2020
As parents, we strive to give our children what they need, but also to make them happy. If our children is happy, so are we. Anything that stresses the children, stresses us out, too—including learning Chinese.
What can you do when you know your preschool child doesn’t seem interested in learning Chinese? Or, he/she might find it boring or difficult? Especially when you are not Chinese-speaking too.
Don’t give up—there are ways in which you, as a parent, can help your child develop a liking for Chinese like no one else can. Parent-child reading refers to parents reading together with their children. Reading competency mostly begins during early childhood. Early stage education should focus on developing an interest in reading and good reading habits early. However, neither reading nor the formation of good habits is easy. Pre-school children need adult company for reading. Such parent-child reading not only helps to form good reading habits but also strengthens the relationship between parent and child.
If Mandarin isn’t your first language, or you don’t speak it very well yourself, parents could use this time as an opportunity to keep your child company, cheer each other on and learn together.
We have a few tips to make every reading time a truly enjoyable experience for your child.
- Try telling the story as though it had actually happened to you (or someone you may know). As you tell the story, your child will be excited to hear the ending of the story. Then, you can explain to the child that it’s actually a story from the book, and proceed to read the book together with your child.
- Make the story an interactive experience—instead of simply telling the story, act out certain parts of the story or encourage your child to take part by making sound effects.
- Make it not just reading time, but bonding time—Instead of just giving your children Chinese story books to read, do stay by their side and read aloud these stories with them. Even if Mandarin isn’t your first language, or you don’t speak it very well yourself, use this time as an opportunity to cheer each other on and learn together.
To reinforce and retain what your child learns, you could use supportive words, mobile Chinese learning app, along with appreciative smiles or reassuring hugs. Even just a pat on the back, spending time with your child, or taking a different, less harsh approach can help work wonders.