Children are very intuitive and intelligent and you will realize that they adapt to learning a new language like fish to water. Once you start with teaching your children Chinese, you will realize that children are far more advanced in understanding daily conversations than they are in recognizing Chinese characters. This is very common and one should create a learning environment for the children to develop listening skills and speaking skills through daily conversation.
How do I teach my children to read Chinese?
It is very important to have a very solid grasp on Chinese characters no matter at what age a child starts to learn Chinese. This is important to develop good reading skills. Children are very easily bored by the complexities involved in going from a phonogram-based language (English), to a logogram-based language (Chinese). It is the job of a teacher to make the child feel confident right at the start of their Mandarin-learning journey. This will help them to naturally sustain their enthusiasm and maintain their interest in the subject.
How should I prepare a younger child to learn Chinese?
For younger kids it s very easy to learn if you associate physical objects to the characters. What you can do is print out Chinese characters in a large font with their pinyin and stick it around the house and put these flashcards on the objects. This will help kids learn faster and they can also relate to the character much more and make Chinese characters seem much more approachable and fun.
Create a game and make Learning fun
You can make learning Chinese great fun for kids by creating a game out of it. You can start by asking your children to match Mandarin Chinese character flashcards to the objects in the house. All you need to do is prepare a host of flashcards and run around the house to stick the correct flashcard to the correct object. Slowly expand the game to the outdoors as well and match flashcards to items in the supermarket.
Buy Basic Level Chinese Books
For older kids when they attain a certain level proficiency, you can buy them Children’s books in Chinese. These Chinese children’s books are very child friendly and written with pinyin next to the characters. This is to help sound out the phonetics and can be a good confidence builder and be a very good resource to help expand your children’s vocabulary. For older kids it is very important to retain their excitement and maintain their interest in the subject. In order to that one must invest in the variety of books available on the market today. These books cover a variety of topics such as cooking, nature and comic books.
How do I teach My Child to Write Chinese Characters?
Apart from enrolling your kids in a Chinese speech and drama class, writing Chinese characters can be pretty daunting for a child for the first few times and the child might feel it pretty difficult, but the key is perseverance and this needs to be taught to the child. Towards the beginning the child might feel it is doing rout memorization but their skills definitely improve over a period of time and the important thing is not give up. Practice makes perfect and eventually your kids will be able to write structured sentences in Mandarin Chinese. It is very important that you make the child understand that Chinese needs to be written by hand and you can introduce rewards to encourage the same.
These are some of the basic tips to help your child read and write Chinese. As already mentioned, perseverance is key in this regard.