One of the best ways to teach a child is by example. If you wish your child can pick up the Chinese language, but are having trouble getting them to do so, you might be missing the other side of this equation if you are not a Chinese speaker yourself.
If you are not proficient in Chinese, it is time to get down to learning Chinese!
Why it is worth it for parents to learn Chinese
When you pick up the language as well, your child will be able to see that they are not doing this alone. Your learning process will be a demonstration to them that learning is a lifelong process, and that even you, as an adult, are going through the same difficulties are they are! They will soon recognise that mistakes are inevitable, and will be less afraid to practise and try again.
Additionally, there is the advantage of bonding over this learning activity. You can make precious memories reading Chinese books together, or watching Chinese-language movies as a family.
As a bonus, learning Chinese gives you the benefit of being something you can put in your resume. Having proficiency in an additional language can be a useful skill in your workplace and make you more employable. Of course, it also comes in handy if you live in a multicultural city like Singapore, or if you travel frequently to Chinese-speaking nations.
How tough is it to learn Chinese as a parent?
There is no doubt that being a parent is a tough role. Not only would you have to work to bring home the bacon, but you also have to take care of your little one’s needs as well. This leaves most parents with little time to do anything else that’s ‘extra’.
However, with a bit of time management adjustment, there’s always a way. As mentioned, learning Chinese can be a great bonding activity. You can use family time to engage your family members in Chinese language-related activities so that you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Apart from that, Chinese language courses nowadays come in many flexible options, ensuring there is one that will fit your arrangements.
If you are concerned about learning the language as an adult, don’t be! While experts agree that the critical period for learning languages is when a child is young, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to reach fluency in a foreign language once you’re an adult. In fact, your existing knowledge of languages can be an aid to you.
It might help to remember this: Just as your learning of Chinese is a motivation to your child, let their progress be a motivation to you! You can pace your learning with that of your child, and learn alongside them.
Start learning Chinese as a parent today
Learning Chinese as a parent is definitely not a walk in the park, but the results may be something worth working for. If you are convinced that picking up the language is something important to you, you can make it work with some diligence, and a healthy dose of prioritisation. A slew of Chinese language courses is out there to help you – from private one-on-one coaching to video lessons. And not forgetting: you have a young, precious study partner to grow with you throughout the process!