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What? Teach Chinese at home? Myself? No way! Yeap, that’s what I got from most parents when we talked about teaching Chinese to their own child. They will shudder at the thought of it and their eyes will roll all the way back while shaking their heads till it’s almost about to drop off.
No blaff! Why is that so? Because most of the parents nowadays are potatoes (also known as intellects who are more English-educated)! I do admit I am a potato parent too and I had a hard time trying to “convert” smarties to speak Mandarin to me.
So in the end, how do I manage to get them speak Mandarin to me and even have fun Chinese lessons at home? Here are my tips. Do get ready!
Set aside a time where all in the family has to speak da language and that’s Mandarin Chinese. This will create a learning environment for your child to build that listening and speaking skills through the conversations between you and your child. Whoever speaks English will get fined. What to fine? Up to your creativity, parents! Or maybe your child can decide.
Make learning Chinese fun at home. Children are very visual. To teach Chinese words, it is very useful to prepare flashcards or pictogram where your child is able to relate the word to the objects. Pictograms shows how the Chinese characters are formed or derived based on their manners. In other words, they depict the meaning of words in a pictorial way. However, not every Chinese character is so pictorial.
It is good to start your child with characters that are closely resembling what they are meant to portray. For example, fire (火), sun (日), moon (月). This way, they will be able to remember and relate better.
Reading and writing goes hand-in-hand in order to learn Chinese. To make writing fun, we use the Chinese calligraphy way instead of the conventional pencil and paper. This makes the writing so much more fun that the child is able to have continuous interest in it.
Create games! At the beginning of the learning journey, when your child starts learning the new words through flashcards, get your child to match the word with the objects that he/she can find within the house or outside. Get them to move around so that the learning process doesn’t seem so mundane. After learning a set of words or characters, create a bingo game. Through the bingo game, your child is able to recognise and memorise the word better.
With the above tips and practices, your child will gradually feel confident in their Chinese reading and writing skills. As you inject fun into the learning process, your child will be able to sustain his/her enthusiasm and maintain the interest in the subject for the long term. Is worth the effort and is not difficult. Go on and try it! If you have more tips, do share with us and spread the love to all other parents. Have fun learning!