Loading...Loading...
Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Speak and communicate

How I Introduce Music and Movies to My 3-Year-Olds

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 2:52 pm | By Stephanie Woo

M’s first movie

Three months ago, I bought The Sound of Music soundtrack.

How do you introduce new songs to children? The best way is to start by telling a little story about each song.

The first song I played for them from the soundtrack was Doe Re Mi. Here’s how I introduced it: “I’m going to play a song for you. This is a song about a teacher who teaches seven children how to sing. Do you want to hear the song?” That little introduction connected them to the song immediately. 

The next day, I told them a brief story about My Favorite Things. I said,” I want to play another song for you. This is a song about the same teacher and the seven children I told you about yesterday. One night, there was a big thunderstorm and the children were scared. So the teacher sang this song to comfort them. Do you want to hear the song?” 

On another day I told the story about So Long, Farewell: “This is a Good Night Song. One day, the children’s father threw a big party in his house. All the children came to say good night to the guests and they sang this song.”

Children love stories. Each of these little stories gave them an entree into a particular song. This CD quickly became B and M’s all-time favorite and they asked for it in the car by saying things like, “Mama, I want to hear the Good-Night song.” 

During Christmas break, Mark and I decided to watch the movie. At first, they were not interested, but as soon as Julie Andrews started singing, they came flocking over.

I cannot tell you how amazing it was to watch their eyes light up when they heard their favorite songs performed on screen. They weren’t glued to the screen like zombies or scared by what was happening (both are common reactions when they watch children’s shows or cartoons). First they heard the story. Then they heard the music. Now, they are seeing it on screen with real children singing, dancing and performing. This gradual unfolding brought the whole experience together.

Children need guidance when it comes to movies. You can’t just turn it on and think it will entertain them. They may get scared of what they see because it’s happening so fast. Young children – sensorial learners that they are – cannot distinguish whether the characters and storyline they see are real or not. Or they may just get glued like zombies. Neither are good reactions. If you can break it down for them into bite-sized pieces, and add new dimensions over time as they assimilate each piece, then you are helping them understand their experience. Those developing intellects and imaginations need this kind of guidance.  

Here are 3 reasons why the Sound of Music is a great choice for a first movie:

  • It has real people in it (cartoons and imaginary characters are more confusing for young children)
  • The first half has a great a storyline young children can relate to
  • The music is beautiful, as is the cinematography. Because young children are absorbing everything about their environment, feed their little souls with as much beautiful things as you can! 

Video: The Best Language Environment for Your Child

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 6:50 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke reciting classical Chinese poetry

Here’s a fact about young children: they LOVE language. It’s an absolute joy for them to learn and recite anything. And they do it effortlessly. They can learn Jack and Jill went up the hill just as easily as a Shakespearean sonnet.

Here are some videos of B and M reciting the Three Word Classic, Confucius’ Great Learning and several Tang poems.  These classical Chinese poems and writings are critical to helping children understand and appreciate Chinese language, culture and history, especially as they get into elementary and middle school. Knowing this, I memorized a couple stanzas of the Great Learnings and brushed up on Tang poems I learned as a child, then recited them to B and M. We sang Itsy Bitsy Spider at the same time we recited Confucius – and they picked it all up. To a 12-year-old, memorization is tedious and painful. But to a 2-year-old, there’s almost no greater joy. 

Children will imitate the language they hear in their environment. Therefore when it comes to language in general, I recommend speaking the most beautiful, difficult and sophisticated version of your language to them. Use hard vocabulary words. Enunciate. Be very specific in your word choices – instead of ‘look at that butterfly,” say, “look at that yellow and black Monarch butterfly.” And if you’re an English speaker, incorporate Shakespeare. It’s not too early. You’re doing them a favor by exposing them to it now!

“It’s Not Fair!” and Other Things Children Say They Don’t Understand

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 3:32 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Since they’ve started school, B and M have had a language explosion in English. Most of it has been great, but occasionally, they’ll say things like, “It’s not fair!” “That’s not funny!” “I don’t like you!”

As a mom, my initial reaction is to cringe and ask, “What are you saying?” Then proceed to guess who they learned it from and how can I stop it from happening further.

Then their teacher gave me a piece of advice on what to do with unwanted language: ask them if they know what it means. 

The other day, B and M were eating snack and suddenly B says, “That’s not fair!” I look over and she had both arms across her body in an upset stance. I said, “What does that mean, ‘it’s not fair?’” I waited for her response. Silence. And then she started smiling. I said, “Do you know what that means?”  She shakes her head. I smile back and her and then turn around to finish my work. 

I didn’t demand her to stop saying those things. I didn’t let her know it was ‘bad.’ I didn’t inadvertently create a power struggle. She was just imitating some older children she heard at school. So I asked her a question. And then, the whole thing just resolved itself.