I had big dreams from my child to be multilingual so I got him started very young. So imagine the wake-up call when my remarkably opinionated toddler told me he no longer wanted to speak Chinese with me. I had hoped to raise him to be multilingual, to accompany him to China, and to assist him in making friends from all over the world. I had not anticipated, as a first-time mother, that he would not agree with my plan.
I realized at that point that I needed to make some significant modifications in order to capture his heart and persuade him that learning Chinese was in fact worthwhile.
Fellow parents, are you seeing equivalent resistance with your young language learner? Perhaps your family is multilingual, and you want your child to be able to communicate in your native tongue. Or perhaps your high schooler is studying Chinese to prepare for college, but really hates character writing practice and vocabulary review. Or maybe you’re learning Chinese together as a family, but one child keeps insisting, “This is just so boring!”
You are not alone.
But what are your options for encouraging your child to learn Chinese? I’m here to divulge what I did since this is a common occurrence across the board. Here are some ideas for dealing with this particular situation:
It will be simpler for your child to feel comfortable trying to speak the Chinese language they are studying if you already speak it. They will benefit from attempting to practice their language skills together, just as they did when they acquired their original language from you. You can help kids lay a strong foundation at home, away from the pressures of exams and the classroom.
Joining your child in something that may be tiresome or even difficult at times is one of the finest ways to encourage them to practice it. Study alongside your child to show them that you can work together to conquer any obstacles. It will show them that they are not alone, will help them develop their abilities, and will provide a wonderful opportunity for them to feel connected to one another.
This was probably the most remarkable thing that we did to help my son with his Chinese development. As it turns out, I think that we were putting a little too much pressure on him to improve his Chinese. So instead of proceeding to struggle, I decided to make it into a game. I pretended that I couldn’t understand English anymore and that in order to get through to me or communicate his needs he would need to speak to me only in Chinese. It worked! He thought mommy was funny but played along and what do you know, it’s his favorite game. He even wants to play in public and it’s very entertaining.
Consider how your family enjoys being entertained together. Is there a TV show that you all like watching? What about films? There are many excellent films and television series available with subtitles or even audio in many languages. Next time you have a family movie night, turn those on and see if you can pick out any of your favorite words together.
Language classes are an excellent method to learn something new rapidly. While your child’s school might not have one, there should be lots of online options that can help them improve their language abilities.
And if you can manage it, another excellent option is to enroll your child in a prep course in China (once things open up again), where they will be totally immersed in the language and will be able to establish a better foundation.
Joining a group, in addition to a language study, might be quite beneficial to your youngster. Many towns provide after-school activities, lessons at a local recreation center, or other community groups where your child may meet new people and develop their abilities. Or organize your own group!
Do you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who speaks the language your kid is attempting to learn? Inform them of your circumstances and ask them over to speak to your child in the language he or she is learning. Try hosting a meal or activity where everyone exclusively speaks the language.
Using apps and internet resources to compliment your child’s learning is another excellent option. Duolingo is currently one of the most popular programs. It’s an excellent method to practice short sentences, acquire new vocabulary, and even experiment with pronunciation. Memrise, which helps to gamify the experience, Busuu, which helps with pronunciation and accent, and Drops, which provides five-minute Q&A sessions, are some other popular tools.
If all else fails remind your child that “the more languages you speak, the more friends you can have.” This is especially evident to my son whenever we visit our neighborhood playground, where there are usually at least five different languages being spoken by the families there. It’s easier to comprehend the benefits of language learning when they are introduced to other children that don’t speak their mother tongue.
I hope you find those suggestions useful.Would you mind sharing any more methods your family has used to inspire your language learners? I’m confident that we’d all be better off knowing. After all, it takes a village!
You May Want to Learn More :
“The Most Easy Song for Children to Learn Chinese Greetings”
“Are There Any “Best Practices” for Your Child to Learn Chinese?”
”Self-Guided Chinese Learning for Kids: Consonants Video”