Priority: Mandarin-Rich Environment
Imagine your child as a big sponge! Children at this age are absorbing everything around them with their five senses. The most effective way to help them learn a second language at this age is to create a language-rich environment around them, especially at home where they spend a lot of time.
- Create a print-rich environment at home with labeled materials to allow your child to start to understand that print conveys meaning.
- Encourage pretend play activities that your child commonly experiences, such as grocery shopping, going to the library, cooking, gardening, etc.
- Read aloud storybooks in Mandarin Chinese (or play audiobooks) and pause regularly to explain words and concepts in English.
- Use Mandarin Chinese for common everyday words like "good morning", "thank you", and "goodnight".
- Provide opportunities to experiment with writing materials, and doing scribbles of Chinese characters.
- Allow independent exploration of puzzles and sorting activities in Mandarin Chinese.
- Expose your child to common Chinese dishes like tomato eggs, fried rice, and noodles and show them how to say the dishes in Mandarin Chinese.
Kick start your journey of teaching your child Mandarin Chinese with this list of activities!
Every month, or even week, your child's perception and senses are developing rapidly which means their preferences for playthings change very fast as well. For printouts that don't seem to interest your child, simply re-introduce them again next month or so. You might be surprised at how suddenly your child is showing interest in something that he/she didn't care for just yesterday! Also, it's helpful to take mental notes of what your child likes as your guide to selecting future activities for him/her.
*Please note that all printed material is not safe for babies or small children. So please be careful when showing your child the printouts. Attach printouts to the wall securely or laminate them.