Bilingual literacy plays a significant role in a child’s development, but with the growing number of Singaporean families prioritising the English language even at home, it leaves much to be desired. Growing up in a predominantly English-speaking household will set the foundation for your child to be more comfortable communicating in English as opposed to their mother tongue languages. It may not be too late to turn things around and encourage your child to communicate in their mother tongue.
If you are wondering ways to increase your child’s interest and motivation to pick up mother tongue languages, here is a list of activities you can incorporate at home!
Make It Personal
As parents, we often tie attributes to the bigger picture. In this case, we often try to advocate bilingualism as it would be helpful in our child’s lives in their academic performance, career accomplishments and other real-world factors. Whilst they are practical, these factors do not always appeal to children. Not only are these reasons far too abstract, but they may serve to further burden your child with expectations and milestones, which may backfire and deter your child from learning their mother tongue.
Instead, you should place your child at the epicentre of this undertaking and think of reasons that may resonate with them. Start by thinking about the missed opportunities should they not learn their mother tongue and if those said opportunities have any personal value to your child. Pursue those that your child cares for and remove those that they do not. An irreplaceable bond with a grandparent who speaks the second language; a special connection with a mother tongue teacher; an affinity for songs and films in their mother tongue; traditions associated with one’s culture and language – all of these incentives are simple yet relatable.
By associating language with their personal goals, your child will be willing and motivated to learn and improve their native tongue.
Maximise Their Exposure to The Second Language
Similar to the heavy utilisation of the English language at home, you can apply the same approach with the second language. Simply make it a point to communicate in your mother tongue and consume entertainment in the said language. So long as everyone in the household is included in the conversations and activities, it does not matter if bilingual fluency is lacking. Just so long as the interaction is kept high, your child is one step closer to maintaining and possibly improving their grasp of the language.
Provide Them With Ample Resources
Any sort of learning needs to be supplied with resources, and this is no different. Curate a range of accessible mother tongue language resources for your child and be sure to have a mix of educational and recreational resources to ensure that your child’s learning and development is not only fully supported, but also enjoyable. Your resources can include anything from academic books that offer a structured, instructional and technical approach, songs and films that will support your child’s freedom of expression and creativity within the context of their second language, to guided museum tours that further boost their appreciation and love for their mother tongue and culture.
However, resources are not the end all be all. Supplement these resources with discussions and activities to build upon what they have learnt.
Jocelyn Chinese: Providing the Support Your Child Needs
Learning does not stop once school ends for the day – it continues even at home. If your child is having difficulty excelling in their mother tongue, offer them a home environment that promotes the usage of their second language.
If you or your child needs an extra pair of hands, we are here to help! Jocelyn Chinese takes pride in being a Chinese tuition centre in Singapore that is committed to assisting secondary and JC students to enhance their learning potential and support their efforts to fully realise their goals. We curate our Chinese enrichment lessons with our teaching methodology at its core, which is to offer exam-oriented classes that employ effective bilingualism for better engagement between students and tutors. Contact us today and kickstart your child’s journey towards proficient bilingualism today!