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Bao Bao Learns Chinese – the Enlightenment Journey

Our children’s Chinese enlightenment journey is very difficult. Children learning Chinese can be a strenuous process in our family. Because in these years of education activities, Bao Bao learns Chinese, which is the most laborious thing, but the results don’t reflect the amount of effort put in.

In the United States, my teammates are Americans. We don’t have access to a native Chinese-speaking elderly person or nanny in our family. Therefore, the Chinese education of mixed blood babies relies entirely on me.

chinese exercise
Chinese exercise

When our baby was born, Jerry and I were the only ones who made the strategy. If dad is here, we always talk in English. Otherwise, we always talk in Chinese. Before the children go to kindergarten, this method is good. I speak Chinese, and the boss knows it. I often answer in Chinese. However, after she entered the garden, she had a lot of British friends. He was in an English-speaking environment the whole day. The impact on the environment made our previous efforts in vain. As he grows up, we were receiving fewer and fewer replies in Chinese.  Even when I remind him, he is not willing to speak.

Although my daily Chinese conversation continues, my child is very clever. Jerry’s response is to think in his mother tongue and then answer in Chinese. No matter what I say to my child, my brain is always thinking about the thing itself, thinking about saying it in Chinese or in English. The three things are constantly interspersed and switched. Our conversations are always tangled.

Later, every time Jerry came back from school, he loved chatting with his father because it was smooth and relaxed. But every time he came to me, he becomes agitated and uncomfortable. That is because I ask him to listen to and speak Chinese. His thoughts were difficult to connect and his communication was stumbling. But I don’t want to give up every time we practice speaking Chinese.  Because I give up this opportunity, my child’s Chinese level will definitely decline. I am the only one in my family who speaks Chinese. My efforts are not enough.

My reinforcing abilities are too weak. Sometimes the urgency is like ants on a hot pot, struggling to survive. But I can’t give up because my child can speak, read and write skillfully in Chinese in the future. But achieving this picture is so far away. Sometimes I’m inclined to just give up the idea.

In addition, with the emergence of Er Bao, the two children can’t stop communicating in their mother tongue. As a result, the proportion of time they spend using English in a day is getting higher and higher. I was even shocked to find that the eldest brother’s Chinese listening began to decline. He could understand some Chinese sentences immediately before, but now he has to stop thinking and translate then guess.

Later, I tried to talk to them in Chinese every day. Now my children can understand the majority of what I say. It is quite an improvement in their Chinese learning level. However, to achieve this bare minimum, it took me a lot of time to maintain or improve my Chinese. They occasionally answer in Chinese, but more often in English, In this case, I would ask them to repeat what I said in Chinese. Sometimes I have to be interrupted by the context, but it will interfere with my spirit.

In addition to insisting on Chinese dialogue, I will insist on reading Chinese one hour before going to bed every day. I will try my best to make sure that my children have access to Chinese picture books. Picture books are the Chinese enlightenment methods that appeal greatly to children.  My children love these picture books, especially the ones with a simple language. Once they understand the meaning, they will be willing to read them again and again.

I introduce Chinese picture books to them, a shortcut is to use long series picture books! Children love journeys. Because each series is a “fantasy world,” these kinds of books pique their interest. As long as they like the story of one of the books and enter the “world”, then even if I will give them a whole set of books, they will still like it. Consequently,  the amount of reading r will increase.

In addition, I will also find Chinese animation, especially the matching animation with picture books they have read, so that they have a high acceptance. Plus, through this, they will be more open to unfamiliar words. If you’re thinking of applying this method, I suggest that you look for “Baba dad”, “piggy page” and “Miffy” Chinese cartoons. My personal favorites are “black cat Sheriff” and “cucurbit baby.” I remember watching them from my childhood. I will also introduce these to them to reinforce their Chinese learning and feel the fun of my childhood.

Although the children’s acceptance of learning a second language through animation is high, I still have some reservations about the effectiveness of its language training. That is because the picture itself has revealed the plot, I am not sure how focused they are on understanding the dialogue.

These methods have been carried out until now, and I am always glad to see that they can talk with their relatives without any language barrier. Bao Bao learns Chinese, although it’s not easy, there are more ways than difficult problems!

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