If you are my reader for some time, you might know, I mentioned several times in my different posts that a playdate is a nice way to help your kid’s Mandarin Chinese learning.
In my former post: Why I Set Up a Mandarin-Chinese Moms’ Club, I mentioned that I set up a local Chinese moms’ club with a purpose of setting up a playdate once in a while to help my kids feel comfortable with speaking and learning Chinese.
Since myself is a native Chinese speaker, I don’t rely on a playdate to help my kid’s Mandarin Chinese learning, however, I have to say, setting up a playdate with other Chinese speaking families helps to boost my kid’s confidence in learning Mandarin Chinese.
As a result, my kid is willing to speak more Mandarin Chinese and feels proud of his bilingual skills. He has made great progress in Mandarin Chinese learning.
In this post, I am going to share my ideas about how to set up a playdate for this purpose.
1, Find other parents who share your goal.
If you wish to set up a playdate for learning Mandarin Chinese, you had better find other parents who are also interested in raising English and Chinese bilingual kids as well.
Otherwise, the playdate with a purpose of learning Mandarin Chinese will go nowhere.
If you are a non-Chinese speaker and wish to set up a playdate with parents and kids who speak Mandarin Chinese, make sure to let them know your purpose in advance.
I am sure, most Chinese parents are willing to work with you to help your kids learn Mandarin Chinese.
To appreciate what they offer, don’t forget to spare time to have your kid or youself help their kids’ English learning if they wish.
A win-win solution is always the best one for a lasting cooperation.
2, Be well prepared in advance.
Usually, a playdate is pretty simple: Parents have a friendly talk and kids have a nice play time.
However, if you wish to have a playdate with a hope that kids can learn some Mandarin Chinese, you had better do some preparation work.
You might need find some age-appropriate Mandarin Chinese books and videos or prepare some games and activities designed for learning a language.
By the way, in case you need, I have a YouTube Channel with some easy to learn videos to help kids and beginners’ learning.
Be creative with what you have. As a former preschool teacher, I know, everything can be a nice teaching tool.
Don’t forget to ask for help from other parents, borrow learning materials from a library and search online.
Discuss what you are going to do for the coming playdate with your parent fellows. Listen to their opinions.
If possible, creating a hosting list to make sure every participating family takes a turn to host a playdate and share the duty.
By doing so, you don’t need spend a lot of time doing everything yourself, at the same time, every one feels happy about contributing to the group.
3, Be flexible.
I know it is not easy to have kids learn Mandarin Chinese during the playdate sometimes.
Kids just want to enjoy the food, play together and speak in English!
Be relaxing. Try to find different ways, set up practical playdate rules and design intriguing activities to make sure kids will learn Mandarin Chinese at least for some minutes.
For example, have an older kid who goes to a Chinese weekend school read a simple picture book in Chinese to young kids or have kids watch some nice short Chinese learning YouTube videos or play a game in Mandarin Chinese.
The laziest way is, if you are a Chinese speaker, speak Chinese only to every kid. For example, speak Mandarin Chinese to children to get a snack.
If you can’t speak Chinese yourself, ask your Chinese parent friend to speak Chinese only at least for 15 minutes to make sure kids get some exposure to Mandarin usage and pronunciation.
Don’t forget to reward every kid for making an effort to learn the language. The award can be a sticker, a snack or something else.
Don’t expect kids will make impressive progresses in Mandarin Chinese learning with just several playdates.
After all, a playdate is just a playdate. Having fun is more important.
If kids have fun with what they are doing, they will learn Chinese sooner or later.
The more important thing is, by setting up a playdate, your child gets an idea that he is not alone when it comes to learn Mandarin Chinese.
A little kid tends to look like his fellows. If he knows, not every one just speaks English, if he knows he is not the only kid to learn Chinese, he will be willing to try learning Mandarin Chinese.
If not now, at least, in the future, he will. Believe me. My boy came from there.