Speaking Chinese at home with my baby girl was easy before she went to kindergarten. But after she went to school less than a month, she did not speak Chinese anymore, but only French.
When I talked to her in Chinese, she only replied in French. I comforted myself: don't be overreacted. However, one day, my daughter told me, "Mom, please speak French with me, not in Chinese. And you should not speak Chinese to me anymore. ”
After hearing this, I was a little terrified. What should I do? How do I motivate my child to learn Chinese? Let me share with you some stories about how I finally pushed changes.
Learning the language in an immersion environment was so necessary, but my daughter lacked a Chinese language environment, which made me upset. I also discovered my child was the only Chinese in her class at kindergarten. After less than one month of going to kindergarten, my daughter does not speak Chinese at all! This time I was totally in a panic! I realized that she started to have a resistance to Chinese, and the emotion of resistance became stronger and stronger. I was afraid that my child did not have a cultural heritage from my side and did not agree with her own Chinese identity. The more I thought, the more anxious I became. What should I do? What can I do to change this situation?
speech given by my kid's teacher at the parent meeting opened my eyes to a new
approach. The teacher encouraged parents to help schools to organize
extracurricular activities, such as going to libraries, cinemas etc.
Considering that there were many “foreign mothers” in the school, parents were
also welcome to introduce their home country culture to the children. The
teacher also gave an example in her previous class. There was a Lebanese mother
who only spoke Arabic and English while arrived at France. The Lebanese mother
was encouraged to make a presentation about her country by wearing traditional
costumes, showing pictures of her country as well as sharing traditional local
foods. All children in the class showed strong interests in the beautiful
conventional Lebanese customs and were fascinated by the introduction of her
own culture and cuisine. Foreign language was no more barriers for mutual
understanding. In the end, children even learned several Lebanese words! The
story of this Lebanese mother gave me great encouragement and inspiration. I
believe that as long as I work hard, I can do a workshop about China too.
Do you face similar difficulties in encouraging your kids to learn Chinese? I would be more than happy to share my stories and insights with you. I am very looking forward to working with parents who have similar problems of multilingual education.