It has been a while since I wrote a blog post. Time is a rare commodity when you are raising children and trying to balance everything! But this has been on my mind for a while. I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic with all of you…
Firstly, let’s start with a small exercise.
- Do you feel it is important to teach our children Punjabi and why?
- Do you understand spoken Punjabi yourself?
- Do you ever write anything in Punjabi?
Please share your answers below in the comments.
Why do I feel it’s important to teach my children Punjabi?
Well, apart from everyone in the older generation telling me to teach my children Punjabi, I do feel it is important for them to learn. For me, its my way of ensuring my children have a connection with their Guru. When I was younger, my mum made me go to Punjabi class every day of the week! I must say that I hated the experience. However, now that I am older, I see the value in it. When I reconnected with Sikhi, the Punjabi that I learnt as a child enabled me to be able to read Gurbani. I am still working on improving that skill through undertaking ‘Gurbani Santhiya’ but it gave me a starting block.
So I basically want to ensure that my children have a chance to read and understand Gurbani in its original form. And that is my driving force to teach them.
What age do you start to teach your children Punjabi?
In my personal opinion, each child is different and there is no right or wrong answer. One line of reasoning is that children can start to learn Punjabi as soon as they start to learn English at school – usually around the age of 2-4. Others may say that its good to wait a little longer to ensure children grasp their primary language first and then once they learn the basics of language in general they can start to learn Punjabi. See what works for you.
How do we teach our children Punjabi?
Thats the million pound question! Again, I will share my experiences. You may have better suggestions and if so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
We have tried to speak Punjabi at home with each other but unfortunately, that fizzles out after a while. My children understand Punjabi but, as with most Western children, go completely quiet when asked to speak in Punjabi! Talk about an easy way to get some quiet time around the house. If you can speak Punjabi at home then that is a great starting point.
My children also attend the local weekend Punjabi school. This is increased during the school holidays to include some ‘booster’ classes.
However, before they started to go to the Punjabi classes I introduced them to the Gurmukhi Alphabet book. I used Puzzles, Flashcards and our Gurmukhi Alphabet colouring book to introduce them to the formation of the letters. And these ‘interactive and fun’ ways keep them engaged whilst being educational at the same time. My children will colour the alphabet colouring sheets in our Gurmukhi Alphabet book one at a time and over time, this becomes a great resource that they can reflect back on.
The Punjabi alphabet puzzle is also great as children can make it by looking at the various pictures without knowing the letters themselves. But if you are with them whilst they are doing this, then you can ensure that you are drip feeding them knowledge as they go along. Thats the stage my children are at for the time being. As they get older, I will have to think of other ideas to keep them engaged.
Have you got any cool ideas?
What techniques have worked well for you? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. I am sure we are all trying to do the best by our children so lets support each other in this journey!
For now, back to the chores…until next time!