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3 Tips for Young Children Learning Chinese

The Chinese language is one of the oldest in the world, with a history that stretches back thousands of years. As a result, there are many dialects in China and linguistic traditions that have been passed down for generations. 

This can be intimidating to new learners—especially young children who may not even be able to read yet! That’s why we put together these tips for parents who want their kids to learn Chinese.

Read to Them in Both English and Chinese

It’s important that you read to your child in both English and Chinese. If they only listen to one language, they’ll develop a preference for that language, which can make it harder for them to learn other languages later on. 

It may seem like an extra step, but reading books out loud is an excellent way of helping children learn vocabulary and pronunciation—and it can be fun! Reading at bedtime is also a great idea as this allows your child to relax before sleep.

3 Tips for Young Children Learning Chinese - Treasure Box bilingual stories | Sagebooks Hong Kong
Treasure Box is written in bilingual Chinese and English, perfect to be included in your child's library.

Play With Them in Both English and Chinese

To help them pick up the language, you can play games with your child. You can do this by using both English and Chinese. Or, you could play games without any specific language at all! 

This is an exceptional way to start because it’s easy to learn and engaging. The best part is that it will help your child develop their cognitive skills while they’re having fun! 

Here are some example games that you can play with your child:
  • Playing tag. Children love to run & hide, playing tag in Chinese in a fun way to introduce a language in a subtle way while keeping things fun. 
  • Playing chef. Who doesn’t love creating fun recipes? Help your child bake cookies or prepare their favourite meal while introducing some of the instructions in Chinese. 

Show Them at Least One Cartoon Episode (in Chinese)

The first thing to keep in mind is that cartoons are a great way to get children interested in Chinese. If your child has ever watched an episode of Dora the Explorer or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, then you know how engaging they can be. 

It’s also important not to worry if your child doesn’t understand every word—they will still get some exposure, and even though it might not sound like it at first, your child will learn new words and phrases from watching cartoon characters speak Chinese.

Another advantage of using cartoons as a teaching resource is that they offer an opportunity for adults to teach their children some basic vocabulary words through context clues. For example, if a character says something along the lines of “I want my parents” or “Can I go home now?” then parents could point out what they’re saying before moving on with dialogue (and thus avoiding awkward pauses).

3 Tips for Young Children Learning Chinese - Komic Kids for beginning reading | Sagebooks Hong Kong
Check out some of our online comic stories

And there you have it! We hope these tips are helpful for your kids, no matter what stage of learning Chinese they are at. If you follow these guidelines, your child is more likely to be familiar with Chinese characters and words year over year. Visit our shop for the best tools and tips to learn Chinese. 

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