There are various circumstances where parents might decide to learn a foreign language with their child. Perhaps, your spouse is a Chinese speaker, and you both want your child to pick up the language, making it a great time for you to learn as well. Or it is also possible that none of you has ties to the Chinese language, but you wish to let your child learn the language because of the practical benefits of knowing this global language.
Regardless of the situation, having parent(s) and child learning a language together is a very precious opportunity. But because this is not a common arrangement for families in Singapore, you might be wondering what’s the best way to go about making full use of this situation. That is why we’re here with some tips to help you learn Chinese more effectively together with your child:
1. Set aside time to learn Chinese together every day
Anyone who has experience learning a new language will tell you that constant practice is of paramount importance. Setting a schedule to learn a little bit every day works wonders to keep learners on track.
When you are learning with your child, make it a point to do Chinese-related activities together every day. It could be learning using flashcards, reading Chinese storybooks together, or deciding to speak only in Chinese at the dinner table.
Doing things together will motivate both parent and child, as well as serve as wonderful bonding sessions. When you learn together in a fun-filled manner, learning Chinese can become something you both look forward to each day, making learning feel exciting and effortless.
2. Incorporate Chinese into your home environment
Being constantly exposed to the language you are trying to learn is one effective way to get better at the language. You can do so by labelling items in your home in Chinese – this helps those who are learning Chinese get familiar with associating objects with their Chinese names and the written characters.
Listening to Chinese songs and nursery rhymes, or watching Chinese shows together is also a fun yet effective way to become assimilated with the pronunciation of Chinese.
3. Go for Mandarin classes
While parent and child can support each other’s learning of Chinese at home, nothing beats having a proper language teacher to provide the correct input for the language. If you have any friends or relatives who speak the language, it might be more comfortable to have them tutor the both of you once a week.
However, if you prefer a more professional and structured arrangement, you can enrol you and your child in respective Chinese language courses. Another advantage of this is that you get to learn age-appropriate vocabulary, and potentially make friends with other Chinese learners.
Learning the Chinese language with your child might not be the most conventional arrangement, but it is definitely possible and has its own share of benefits as well. By putting some thought into your learning arrangements, you can take away some wonderful and unique bonding experiences with your child.