At a recent event, I met a very excited mother who told me that her daughter's bedtime routine isn't complete without reading my book. I automatically assumed she was referring to my storybook 'Ria & Raj and the Gigantic Diwali Surprise' but to my own surprise she was actually referring to 'Have Fun With Panjabi'. The mother continued to tell me how on some nights they make up little stories based on the chapter themes and on some they simply like to recite the words. Dad joins in too! I was enlightened to hear how my 'little' book idea back in 2010 had inspired this family and especially their daughter in wanting to learn and love the language. One question I get asked all the time by parents is 'how can I help my child learn Panjabi?', well here are my top five tips...
1. Immerse yourselves in all things Panjabi. Food, child-friendly music, films, clothes, games, dance... the list goes on. Try to include at least one of these in your day. Music is my personal favourite. Having a sing off on the school run is so much fun (and I don't even drive!). I love the song GT Road Te and my youngest does too. We replace the keywords with his own interests.
2. Be excited and be realistic. You can't expect a child to be excited about learning a language if you're not that fussed about it yourself. Becoming fluent in a language can take years. Whichever stage your child is at encourage, encourage and er did I mention encourage!
3. Books and worksheets. There are so many books on the market that make Panjabi so accessible to learn. Obviously a shout out to my own work but I must mention J S Nagra's collection. 'Panjabi Made Easy' is a great book to learn your vowels and more.
4. Classes. Send your child to a weekly class where they are able to mix with fellow chidren on the same language learning journey. Most Gurdwaras, community groups and local council learning centres run classes.
5. And finally... Lights, Camera, Action! Role play - this is my foolproof method in teaching children to speak Panjabi and actually understand what they are saying.
So that's my top five. I hope you found them helpful. Do you have any of your own to share? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Good luck and dhanvaad.