Watch What You Say To The Kids

Children pick up their language skills, both consciously and sub-consciously, from what they see and hear.

Listen To The Kids

Pay attention to the things the child says. We will notice that the child may use certain phrases or expressions that are very similar to what the parents or any other close relative or friend tend to use.

Watch What We Say

A simple and cost-effective way to help the child speak better is to pay attention to how we normally speak.

Are we guilty of using non-Standard English words or phrases that the child is likely to pick up?

Here are 6 examples that many Singaporean parents are prone to using:
  • “Faster late already”

  • “You don’t listen I tell Daddy”

  • “Why you so naughty”

  • “Wait Mummy give you ok?”

  • “You better don’t do that ah”

  • “ Everytime also like that”

The list can go on.

Becoming Role Models For the Child

Be mindful of the language we use. When we correct ourselves and consciously speak in standard English, the child will do so too.

Decide to start speaking English well today.

3 Quick Steps To Start
  • List some non-standard English words and phrases that we usually use

  • Pick one non-standard English phrase that / word we use most commonly and make an effort to stop using it this week.

  • Be conscious of what we say to the kids each time we speak to them. Correct ourselves immediately every time we say it.

If we keep at it, we will stop using the phrase completely in no time. The child will also realise that it isn’t standard English and will avoid saying it too.

Take the first step today. One phrase at a time and soon we’ll be a role model for the child.


Noraini Bte Aman

When Noraini Bte Aman was a secondary three student of Xinmin Secondary School, she participated together with another team member in the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award (TKKYIA) on 2 March 2004 and competed amongst the top schools to showcase their inventions as young enthusiastic innovators. Her team was awarded the Commendation Award in the prestigious TKKYIA - Defence Science Award 2004 by the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) for their project “Hot-Oxy-Baggy”. The team competed against adult teams as there is no pupils category. She and her teammate also won cash reward of S$1000.

As an outstanding student, Noraini has also been able to excel in various non-academic areas. Aside from having a strong academic record and being a Staff Sergeant in the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) when she was in secondary four, she was actively participating in ‘From The Young Director’s Chair – Youth In Our Community’, a bold initiative organised by Xinmin Secondary School and Channel NewsAsia, for a Mother Tongue video-clip making project to promote the use of language through television. Her team was producing a video-clip: 'Arts Alive!' (Malay), traces the lives of buskers and how they make a living along the streets of Singapore, was telecasted on 22~29 August 2005 among all the finalists.

Anyone who has the latest news of Noraini now, please feel free to leave comments here for this content to be improved and completed subsequently. Thank you.

Speech by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, at the Berita Harian Achiever Of the Year Award presentation ceremony on Wednesday, 3 August 2005, at 8.00 pm at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia