When Chinese became the dominate language for my daughter right around the age of two I was shocked!
When we moved back to The States after living in Taiwan for three years, we decided to switch from speaking English at home to Chinese. Our daughter was ten months old at that time and not speaking much.
We had moved to a small rural town in Minnesota where there were only a handful of Chinese speakers none of which were in our social circle.
After the initial awkward stage of switching over to communicating with her in Chinese (I’m more comfortable in English even though I am fairly fluent in Chinese), it slowly became a normal part of our lives.
What really helped us in this process was having my mom stay with us for three months. This was the summer right before our daughter turned two. During that time, she taught my daughter many traditional Chinese songs that my daughter fell in love with (click here to access my spotify playlist of our favorite traditional Chinese children songs).
How To Teach Toddlers Chinese
The trick with teaching toddlers Chinese is to teach them fun children’s songs. Even in the early childhood education classes we took in our community, they focused on singing songs, reading books and allowing the toddlers to engage in free play. Research backs up the power of songs to cultivate language learning abilities in children as well.
Raising bilingual kids can sound like a daunting task. But as with anything, when you educate yourself on the topic, take baby steps and most importantly trust in God to guide you, it’s actually a lot easier than you think.
Like Betty shared in this informative blog post, you simply need to engage in tasks throughout the day to help build an environment conducive to learning the minority language. For us it was speaking Chinese, reading Chinese children’s books and learning Chinese children’s songs together.
I pray that God will give you grace and strength to persevere in the marathon of raising bilingual children. Without His help and presence, I wouldn’t be able to do this.
For some more good reads, check out the following posts:
- Me and My Daughter’s Language Adventure
- The Secret to Learning Chinese: How My Husband Did it in 2.5 Years
- Top 5 Resources to Help You Do Devotions as a Family in Chinese
- Getting out of the way for God to Perform Miracles in My Home
Don’t Do It Alone!
For more support and to commiserate with likeminded parents, please join us at Christian Parents Raising Bilingual Children in English & Chinese.
Other great FaceBook groups for parents raising bilingual kids:
- Raising Bilingual Parents in Chinese & English
- Raising Bilingual/Multilingual Children
- Montessori-Inspired Kids Learning Chinese
Follow me on my FaceBook Page & my Instagram accounts where I share fun Chinese activities (@spotofsunshineChinese) we’re doing and encouragement for your heart rooted in Christ (@spotofsunshine).