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Friday, December 11, 2009

Top 10 Home Efforts to Help your Kids Learn Chinese Faster

These Learning-Chinese home tips may be for your kids, or for you - if you're studying Chinese as well.

Mostly, try to incorporate these into your daily activities. These will all add up to mastering the language; whether your child is taking formal lessons in school or with a tutor, or informally at home.

Also, what is language without the social aspect? Do encourage your child to learn more about Chinese people, culture and customs as well.

We at ChildBook have combined our little methods in raising our kids to become bilingual and these came up. Write to us the little things you've been doing in your home to encourage your kids (and yourself) to learn Chinese faster.


Speaking Chinese

1) Let your child speak Chinese. Ask your child questions. If you speak Chinese, talk in straight Chinese. If you don't, you can ask what the Chinese equivalent for a certain word is.

2) If you speak Chinese, think out loud in Chinese. Some words will somehow be picked up, promise.

3) Put your cable channel on Chinese channels every so often. It could be on the news, movie features or sitcoms. Your child will somehow be able to pick up the tones even if s/he just passes by and does not watch. If you don't speak Chinese, if you find a show on the Chinese channel appropriate for your child's age, put it on every time. Maybe your child will want to watch the show.

4) Play Chinese songs CDs. Even if you don't speak Chinese, you may even be able to memorize the words as well. Play the CDs in the car as well. If you are letting your child borrow your portable mp3 player, upload some of the Chinese songs as well.

Reading Chinese

5) Have fun with read-along Books with CDs.

6) Bring out the sticky notes and marker. Write the Chinese characters or Pinyin equivalents of things about the house and post on that item. Yes, your house will be all dotted with yellows for a time, but it helps your child remember the words.

7) If you can read Chinese, have your Chinese magazines, newspapers and books lie about the house. (We've found the bathroom a very strategic place to "accidentally" leave books and magazines about. There is a high probability it will be picked up and browsed there.)

It Takes a Village

8) Teach your child how to play Chinese games. Play together. If your child has friends over, teach them the game and watch them have fun.

9) Participate with the community in Chinese festivals or events. Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat, Mid-Autumn festivals are fun and expose your child to listening and reading Chinese with other people. Once in a while there are Chinese shows, museum exhibitions, etc. that are fun to attend and "covertly educational".

10) Bring your child regularly to Chinatown when buying weekly supplies. You can also "endorse" to your favorite Chinese-speaking people in the community that your child is learning Chinese and if they can please speak to her or with you in Chinese. Plus if they can point out to your child interesting Chinese information when you do your weekly rounds would be great. Nice folks would be more than willing to accommodate your request. They will surely be excited in your endeavor to continue the tradition of speaking the language.

Plus: Let 'em have fun and dress up. Let them have their own Chinese dress or kung fu costume. It'd also be nice if they have one for regular events, and the higher-end formal Chinese clothes for formal events. So that early on, they associate their Chinese formal dress with important events, such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc. It gives a sense that their Chinese identity is just as important.

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