For parents that speak little to no Chinese

Most of the stuff we write on the blog assume that parents know at least a little bit of Chinese and are able to talk to their children in Chinese and read books with their kids in Chinese. Without the parents being heavily involved and personally immersing their kids in Chinese, it's likely that a child will ever really get good at Chinese. Sounds like a downer, but that's just how it is! Even if you speak the language, it's not easy to fully immerse your kids in Chinese when you live outside of China or Taiwan. There's just too much English at school and on TV for it to be easy. Thus, we made this blog, to help parents find books and games and TV and other media to provide immersion.

HOWEVER, this doesn't mean it's not worth trying to teach your kids Chinese if you speak no Chinese or next to no Chinese! Sure, your kids is probably not going to be fluent, but they will learn some, they will have an appreciation for the culture, and they will develop an interest in the language that might continue for the rest of their lives! They might not be fluent by age 5 like our kids are, but they surely can take classes just kids with no Spanish background take Spanish in middle and high school. The goals are just different. Parents who speak Chinese have a goal to make their kid fluent from an early age, and parents who don't speak Chinese should have a goal to give their kid an introduction to the language that will springboard into future learning opportunities.

There's lots of similarities, however, between what a parent who does speak Chinese should do and what a parent who does not speak Chinese should do. Even if you don't speak Chinese, let your kids watch Chinese TV! Give your kids Chinese games to play with on the iPad! Listen to Chinese music!

However, if your kid is older when they start learning Chinese, they might be more intimidated by all the Chinese in most of the Chinese games and cartoons out there. I'm guessing that after age 5 or 6, however, your kids might get really frustrated if he/she can't understand what's going on in the Chinese media they are watching. If this is the case, I still think it's still very important to immerse them in Chinese TV, games, and music, but they might need more. They probably also need a structured program designed to teach kids Chinese as a second language.

These structured programs are numerous, and as time goes by we'll try to introduce them and describe what options are out there for you. We will also label posts that we think apply especially well to kids just beginning their study of Chinese with the "Basic Chinese" label.

See all posts tagged with the label "Basic Chinese" here. Listing all posts that apply to beginning kids is too much of a hassle to do, so we recommend you look at them all that are tagged. However, listed below are the structured Chinese programs that we have reviewed:

Aha Chinese 


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