Set the example | Our children are a reflection of us. If you want them to love Chinese, you first have to. Stop thinking about why they don’t want to use the language; it is likely that we don’t want to either!
Consistency | Speak as often as you can. If you cannot, then expose them to Chinese materials. It will be difficult if you do not have a strong background in mandarin, however books/toys can help significantly. Personally, I do not have a solid background in mandarin. But I find that learning as we teach creates a lot of fun for our young children.
Make it fun | Think! What engages your toddler the most? Is he a superhero fan? Or does he like his vehicles? Whose her favourite princess? This is a great place to start.
Exposure | TV time – but if you’re limiting their screen time then consider tuning into a Chinese speaking radio station every day for 30 minutes. This could be a great way to expose them to learning sentence structures and the pitches in the Chinese language which may be a challenge to us English-speaking parents. Again, consistency is key.
Enrichment classes | Send them off to a Chinese enrichment class? In all honesty, I am quite resistant to this. I’m a firm believer that unless your child has shown interest and has requested to join such a class, it will otherwise not pay off (Considering how hefty fees are in this climate). However, having said that, I’m sure many education institutions targeted at helping our children learn the language would have been effective to a certain extend (otherwise that would put them out of business – right?) Undeniably, there is still a lot of work on our part to make the language fun and enjoyable for them to begin with.
And remember that it is human nature to feel that the better we are at something, the more we love it. So start now.
Lots of love, FWC.