4 Ways to Make Even The Most Stubborn Child Enjoy Learning Chinese

 

If getting your child to learn Chinese feels like rocket science, it might just be because you’re doing it all wrong. Check out our four tried-and-tested tips that will help you transform your child’s attitude towards Chinese!

1) Be realistic

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If you sit your child down and tell him that you’re expecting his Chinese grades to improve from a D to an A in one month, that’s not just unrealistic, it’s also highly discouraging.

It’s great to set goals to work towards, but if these goals are unrealistic, your child might feel so overwhelmed that he or she ends up paralyzed with fear. We wouldn’t want that!

Instead, make sure that you and your child are on the same page, and that both of you agree on the goal that you’re working toward. Let your child know that you understand that Chinese is tough to master, and that you believe in him and will support him throughout his journey.

If you’re not sure about what is a realistic goal to aim for, KidStartNow is offering a free Chinese language assessment where we will analyze your child’s weakness and strengths, and come up with suggestions on how he or she can improve.  

2) Adopt a growth mindset

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If you’re not familiar with this term, a growth mindset refers to the belief that intelligence and skills can be developed through hard work. Conversely, a fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is a fixed asset that people either possess or lack.

According to Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, who has conducted numerous studies on this topic, a growth mindset is essential in helping students realise their potential. Students with fixed mindsets are afraid to try for fear of failing and looking foolish – and it’s the students who are hungry for growth who end up the most successful.

So how do you get your children to adopt a growth mindset, specifically in the context of learning Chinese?

Celebrate small wins and make your child feel good about his or her progress, even if it’s something as small as passing a Chinese spelling test for the first time. Also make sure you don’t discourage your kids – for example, when they speak to you in Chinese, be sure to commend them for practicing the language. Don’t simply correct their pronunciation, without acknowledging their effort.

3) Adhere to a regular weekly reading schedule

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Reading is one of the best ways to build your child’s interest and proficiency in Chinese. You might encounter some resistance at the start, but the objective is to get your children proficient to the point where they actually enjoy reading Chinese material – and they’ll be hooked from there. Bonus: kids who read regular do better in Comprehension and Composition, the two key “killer sections” for primary school student.

You may borrow books from the National Library, or purchase them from Taobao. A word of caution – it’s fine to opt for simpler material to start off with, but try to avoid books with Han Yu Pin Yin, as this will result in them becoming overly reliant on it and refusing to read books without Han Yu Pin Yin.

4) Lead by example

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This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how many parents neglect to practice what they preach. Children look to their parents as their role models and take behavioural cues from them – so if you don’t utter a single word of Mandarin at home, it’s unlikely that they’ll learn enough to be effectively bilingual.

That having been said, there’s no need to go all out and outrightly ban English at home – simply reading the Chinese papers in front of your children, and designating ‘Speak Mandarin Days’ will go a long way in motivating them.

Your children aren’t having an easy time learning Chinese – so to avoid making it any harder than it has to be, make sure you get them to study smart instead of study hard. Instructing them to blindly memorise and regurgitate content won’t work; neither will forcing them to study without taking the time to cultivate their interest for Chinese first.

If you’re not sure where to start, register for KidStartNow’s free Chinese language assessment – we will help you analyse your child’s weakness and strengths, and come up with suggestions on how he or she can improve. Good luck!

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