Help your child excel in Chinese this year


With the start of a new year, it is time to set resolutions. One suggestion is to regularly help your child with Chinese.

Getting kids interested in learning Chinese is not an easy task, as most parents and kids are far more comfortable with speaking English. However, this has become extremely important as MOE introduced a new primary school curriculum in 2015.

The new curriculum places greater focus on using Chinese in everyday life – rather than a subject that kids need to “pass” or “ace” exams. Lessons are structured around daily-life scenarios such as going to school or visiting the doctor. Also, there is a larger oral component like show and tell presentations. There are also relatively complex comprehension passages. Taken together, kids who are not regularly exposed to Chinese are likely to find the new curriculum more difficult.

The good news is that you can help your kids lay a strong foundation for primary school with the 3 simple tips.

TIP 1:

Manage expectations – getting your kids to be comfortable with Chinese will take time. It is easy to get frustrated and give up if your kids keep responding in English – but realise that this is a gradual journey. When your kids refuse to speak or read Chinese, do not worry or show unhappiness. Instead, encourage them to keep trying, and when they do take baby steps (e.g. say a word in Chinese) praise them for trying and encourage them to keep using Chinese.

TIP 2:

Set one day a week as Chinese day – on this day, try speaking to your kids in Chinese and have them respond in Chinese. For parents who are not as confident in incorporating Chinese into your daily life, check out MOE’s Xue Le website for ideas. Xue Le is MOE’s online portal based on its curriculum and the new P1 and P2 欢乐伙伴 syllabus has tons of animated videos based on daily life.

TIP 3:

Read Chinese books to your kids regularly – daily if possible. Most parents know the importance of reading English books to your kids to help them improve their vocabulary and English standards. Why should Chinese be any different?

We buy our paper books from Taobao and the collections are much larger and cheaper than those available in Singapore. Below are some of our recommendations – it is also useful to look for books that are translations from popular English series.

神奇立体书 (popup books with English translations, suitable for preschoolers)
小玻系列翻翻书 (Chinese translation of the popular ‘Spot the dog” series with English translations, suitable for preschoolers)
西游记 (children version of Journey to the West with han yu pin yin, suitable for primary school kids)

For parents not as confident in reading aloud to your kids or if your kids are not interested in Chinese books, we recommend our Boshi Panda animated storybooks (70 books created specifically for Singaporean kids for just $5/mo).

Good luck in helping your kids enjoy learning and excel in Chinese! If you are interested in additional help, our Chinese enrichment classes are highly recommended by 17 parent bloggers and we have helped hundreds of kids excel in Chinese in school.