Teaching Hindi for kids: 5 simple tips for parents

Teaching Hindi for kids: 5 simple tips for parents Cover Image

Are you plagued by worry and stress when it comes to Hindi homework?Then, you may well relate to the post. A parent shares tips to make it simpler.

As parents, many of us may be struggling with this concept: How do you help make Hindi for kids fun and simple? Speaking for ourselves, we are non-native speakers of the language.  Yet, as someone who can speak the tongue and read the script very well, I’m at a vantage point where I can see why my second grader is unable to pick up the same language as easily as I did.

You see, I was raised in Mumbai. Apart from learning Hindi as a second language throughout my schooling years, I was also habituated to speaking and hearing the language as a part of local conversations.  Thus, it had been fairly easier for me to master the language. Today, as a resident of a South Indian city, I realize the pain points for a beginner who lacks this advantage.

I’ve broken down the vast scope of learning a language into bite sized chunks for a child. I hope these tips help you even if you are not well-versed with the language yourself.

5 Tips to teach Hindi for beginners

1. The sound of language

One of the key factors to mastering any language is to internalize the sounds of the language.

As with any other language, certain consonants/letter sounds are peculiar to Hindi. South Indian languages like ours (Tamil) do not use many of these sounds, so these could be alien to kids who do not hear the spoken form of Hindi very often.

Help the child differentiate between the sounds of the consonants. Ask the child to voice out these letters aloud and correct the flaws. You can help him/her associate each letter with a word beginning with that letter.

For instance, the sound of “t” in tamatar, thanda, tasveer, Thane is different for each of these words.

Recommendation: Use of flash cards


2. Buffer with books

Growing up, I had a lot of friends who spoke Hindi in my neighbourhood and I would constantly hear the language being spoken around me. It would remain in my subconscious mind and I could easily attach a context even if I didn’t (initially) understand all the words.

These days, kids choose to speak mostly in English amongst themselves, hence that crucial teaching aid has gone missing.

I’ve found that storybooks in simple Hindi as well as bilingual books are a great way to fill that gap.

Resource Recommendation: Pratham and Tulika publishing have some fantastic ones in the said categories.


3. Ease the gender wonder

Unlike Tamil or English, in Hindi even non-living beings are accorded a gender. While many teachers recommend learning these by rote, there are a few rules that can be kept in mind.

1. Words ending with ई are feminine gender while the ones ending in अ or आ are masculine.

2. Names of country are masculine but names of languages are feminine.

3. Names of rivers are feminine but names of seas are masculine.

Note: As always, there are exceptions to the above rule, so kindly use discretion.


4. Allow DVD, cartoons, kid movies in Hindi

Yes, screen time is a double edged sword in these times of gadget overdose but I believe that using these resources in moderate amounts is good. I have no qualms in introducing my child to good quality ones in the category, especially, when there’s a larger goal in mind.

My personal favourites are mythological stories in Hindi like Bal Ganesh, Hanuman or even stories of Tenali Raman.


5. Play games at home

Learning becomes interesting and fun when taught in the form of games and activities. Here are some games you can include while teaching your kids. These games can be played anytime, anywhere, even on long road trips!

Recognize the consonant: Say the Hindi word aloud and ask the child to recognize the correct consonant/letter.

What’s the good word: Think of a word in your mother tongue or English or any other language your child is comfortable in and ask him/her to give its Hindi equivalent. You can even twist into a word building game.

Creative storytelling: Imagine words by Tulika publishing allows the child to build the story using the words given in the picture book.

Guess the gender: Throw up a word and ask the child to guess the gender. As the child advances in learning, you could ask him/her to convert the word into the opposite gender.

Recommendation:

Hindi Gym is a lovely online resource site for free downloadable games and resources to learn Hindi. Do check it out!

Have you tried any of these methods? We’d love it if you could share some tips that work for you.

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