Encouraging a New Language
Because I don't speak Mandarin fluently it has been tough to introduce a new language to our son. He primarily speaks English with me and Mandarin with his Dad and so we've tried a few things to encourage him to become more comfortable with another language.
1) A Great Immersion School: We were lucky enough to find a great preschool that is bilingual. This has given him daily practice and has gotten him more comfortable speaking. He even attempts to try try to teach me new words when we're driving home from school.
2) Music and Books: Listening to songs and reading books has been a staple for us since he was little. We have been playing nursery rhymes and listening to books that talk as a way to incorporate more language into his life.
3) Practice: His dad has been very diligent speaking with him everyday and he has slowly gotten accustomed to conversing in Mandarin. But it was bumpy at first and for awhile he only wanted to respond in English or not at all. Now he's a complete chatter box and we're racing to keep up with him.
4) Mandarin Cartoons: We reward him with Mandarin videos and have a few favorites.