For children who speak mostly English at home, learning their mother tongue can be challenging. But what if you could make learning mother tongue language fun and exciting for your child? Here’s the good news – you can, thanks to these ideas that you can easily incorporate into your daily lives.

#1 – The Power of Music and Movement

my first skool childcare singapore

In our classrooms, we see how children absolutely love music – and are happy to sing and dance along to their favourite songs, no matter what language the song is in. This is something you can do at home too, by playing child-friendly tunes in their mother tongue.

Keep a lookout for the songs in your child’s favourite shows too. These days, there’s a good chance that if a song is popular, it’ll also be available in multiple languages. If so, you can teach your child an exciting, “new” version of a song they love. Happy children are better learners and at My First Skool, this means everything to us.

If you need some inspiration, one of the most popular tunes in our learning environments is our very own My First Skool 早安 song. There’s even a music video that your child can sing and dance along to!

#2 – Captivating Traditions and Festivals

my first skool childcare singapore

Occasions like Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Hari Raya and Deepavali (just to name a few) are fantastic opportunities to teach your child about their heritage. Make use of the fun, festive mood that these seasons bring, then relate these interesting activities to the unique culture, traditions, and language that’s related to the festival. 

For example, during the Dragon Boat Festival, you can show your child videos of how exciting dragon boat races are – with the beating drums and interesting-looking boats – then explain the origins of the dragon boat or the reason why each boat has its own drummer (to keep everyone in-sync with their paddling). These will allow your child to create fun and positive associations between Chinese traditions and the language!

#3 – Fabulous Food

my first skool childcare singapore

At My First Skool, we believe that children learn best when they’re engaged and having fun. One great way you can do this, is by using food to introduce new words to your child.

For example, if your child loves fries, you could use the word “shu tiao” the next time your child has it. You can even take this a step further by asking them what fries are made from – and use this opportunity to teach your child the word “potato” in their mother tongue.

This way, your child will learn and use these words naturally, and enjoy doing so!

#4 – Fun with Labels

my first skool childcare singapore

Here’s an idea that adults will love too – especially if you enjoy decorating your home. Create fun and eye-catching labels in your mother tongue, then stick them on common household items like your dining table, fridge, laptop or TV.

Every now and then, casually include some of these words into your everyday language. For example, “Can you put this cup on the table please?” or “Can you take an apple from the fridge?” With frequent use (and especially as both sight and sound are involved), these words will soon become a part of your child’s regular vocabulary.

Just remember to keep this fun and not overly challenging, so you child will remain motivated to keep learning – and using – new words!

#5 – Storybook Adventures

my first skool childcare singapore

Children love stories! For this reason, one of the best ways of improving their mother tongue vocabulary is by reading to them. You can make this activity more engaging by encouraging your child to ask questions along the way, or even guess what happens next in the story!

And because you’re reading the story in your child’s mother tongue, it’ll be natural to have these conversations in your mother tongue (rather than English). Need a recommendation of a good Chinese book to read to your child? We’re got 16 recommendations for you.

Watch a video of how our teachers engage with kids during storytelling sessions. You might pick up a few pointers on how to make your storytelling sessions more engaging!

Love for Language Matters at NTUC First Campus’ My First Skool

my first skool childcare singapore

Language is an incredibly important part of your child’s growth, and being fluent in both English and their mother tongue, will give your child an amazing head start in life – while opening many opportunities for them in the years ahead.

And the best way for your child to learn their mother tongue, is to develop a genuine love for the language. We hope these ideas help you get your child started on the path towards developing a love for their mother tongue!

Interested in giving your child joyful learning experiences, each and every day? Register your child at NTUC First Campus’ My First Skool now.