View Full Version : Advice please re. child who doesn't speak English

19-12-2007, 02:58 PM

I have just arranged to look after this beautiful little boy on Mondays and Fridays from January, he really is adorable so I'm really chuffed to bits!

The only thing that worries me is that he only speaks Chinese, no English at all. I'm probably worried about nothing but has anyone got any advice about how to handle this? The main reasons she wants a childminder is so that he is exposed more directly to English and so that he goes out and has life experience like toddlers, shops, library, etc.

He will be two in January and his mum says he doesn't even say much in Chinese at the moment although he does understand a lot. I was thinking about flashcards, if anyone has any that they use for similar situations I would be really grateful if you could tell me where you got them? Other than that though I have no idea!

He had a tantrum while he was here when he had to leave and it just worries me how I can communicate with him so he doesn't get too frustrated and how I can deal with a tantrum if you see what I mean.

I want to do my best for him so any advice would be very gratefully received!

Thank you. :)

19-12-2007, 04:29 PM
I take it his parents speak English, as I think I would struggle if I couldn't communicate directly with the parents..

I think having images around as much as possible will help...lots of flash cards, word books etc and just talk to him as much as possible, even if he doesn't understand anything at first he soon will pick it up.

I think I would just approach it as if I were minding a baby and apply the same sort of principles - pointing and talking to things as much as possible or when he looks at things acknowledge him and tell him what they are.

I bet you will be gobsmacked at how much he learns and how quickly!

Good Luck

19-12-2007, 04:44 PM
We had some Danish visitors a while ago and the little boy watched films in English that he'd seen in Danish - within a couple of days he was counting and saying some words of English - it was amazing how quickly he picked it up just by us all talking around him. We also used a lot of basic sign language that we made up as we went along - wished we'd known the proper stuff tbh, but ours worked!

I think tone of voice is very important as well - if you are always calm and quiet when talking to him, he will pick up on that and respond well to it - then if you have to tell him off or he is doing something dangerous, a quick sharp word should bring him straight back...

Good luck!

oakie dokie
19-12-2007, 04:53 PM
i looked after a 1 year old chinese girl, parents both spoke english and chinese, she understood but obviously did not speak much. she was a wonderful , i found it very easy to communicate. mum brought a chinese dvd for her to watch, she settled easily.

good luck :)

19-12-2007, 07:47 PM
Hi - I have minded children who are from non-English speaking backgrounds. While it can be a little awkward a first, my policy is to keep nattering away - as everone else has said they pick up really quickly. I usually tell them about everything Im doing, and talk to them as though they can speak English - they way I see is that, for example, babies cant speak English, but that doesnt stop us from communicating with them, if you see what I mean?

I have real satisfaction when I hear one of my lads say a new word in English because I know that its something that I did...(his parents speak little English) and something that will benefit him a great deal. If anything it has brought us really close because we learn so much from each other.

(Whenever I do try to speak to him in his own language he laughs at me btw!! How rude! Hehehe!!!)

Good luck with your new mindee!


19-12-2007, 07:54 PM
I agree with everyone else Lorri

I have 3 songs ie happy birthday in chinese if you want them

I also have some chinese / english flashcards

If you want them will you pm your email addy again please

Angel xx

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
20-12-2007, 10:03 AM
I have a little girl she is 19 months old and her family are Italian and the little girl does not speak english saying that she doesn't speak anything, she does understand when I speak to her in english. All she does if grunt all the time her mum says it is because she is lazy which I think she is right.

I sit with her and speak to her in english just simply words but all she does is grunt.

Hope it goes well for you.

Lorraine xx

20-12-2007, 10:07 AM
I think the best way is to talk talk talk to her all the time, tell her what your doing, what something is called, show her pictures and watch simple things on tv like cbeebies thingy with justin thats very good for learning and things like that

I think Kate has a little chinese girl she looks after she may be able to help I'm not sure if she speaks english or not

20-12-2007, 10:17 AM
Can you pm me your email addy so that I can send you some things!

20-12-2007, 01:00 PM
Thank you to everyone for your replies and offers of help it really is much appreciated!

I chat loads to children anyway because I'm very hot on how important communication skills are and so I think that will make it easier than if he was with a really untalkative childminder but we will have to see!

I will also use flashcards and things as well - I will be so proud when he starts saying english words! No doubt I'll post on here for his first one!

He is sooooo adorable! I can't wait!

20-12-2007, 01:06 PM
I have emailed you the flash cards etc Lorri hope you find them useful

Judging by how much you chat here when you are here I am sure you are going be fine in no time at all

Just please please do not start talking to us in chinese haha

Angel xx

20-12-2007, 02:24 PM
Thank you Tasha and Angel the information is really, really useful.

I have also now found this website which has dual language children's books, CD's and posters so I've ordered a couple of books from there


Don't know if this has already been posted or not but I didn't know about it.

I will do a fresh thread with the link in the multicultural resource section.