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Kindergartens provide 2nd-child training

Updated: 2016-06-24 08:30
By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

"I want to have a younger brother or sister because I will have a playmate then," one kindergartner said.

Another was less enthusiastic: "I don't want to have a younger brother or sister because they may be naughty and take away my toys."

Twelve 6-year-olds at a kindergarten in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, were candid with their thoughts about a future younger brother or sister in a debate held earlier this month.

The debate was one of the special activities the kindergarten launched in May to help parents and kids prepare themselves for a possible new family member, as China's new second-child policy is expected to raise the country's birthrate.

The kindergarten also mixed older and younger kids in class, and paired families with kids of different ages to spend weekends together.

"Through these activities, parents can learn what their kids think about having a sibling, and kids can improve their patience and awareness of sharing in a kind of rehearsal," said Zhang Shaozhen, principal of Tiyu Donglu Kindergarten in Guangzhou's Tianhe district.

The kindergarten conducted a survey of parents to determine whether they wanted a second child. About 30 percent said yes, and 50 percent said they were hesitant. But only a handful - less than 10 people - gave a firm "no", Zhang said.

"Kindergartens need to adjust our teaching to the new second-child era," Zhang said.

Besides Zhang's kindergarten, at least two others in Tianhe district have organized activities designed as "second-child education", Guangzhou Daily reported.

Shu Xiaoying, 33, mother of a 6-year-old girl studying at Tiyu Donglu, said she hadn't wanted a second child, but the weekend event changed her mind.

Shu's daughter was paired with a 3-year-old boy, and the two soon bonded like siblings, spending every weekend together climbing hills and playing in parks.

"Honestly, I joined the activity because I wanted to dismiss my daughter's idea of having a younger brother or sister by throwing her into the difficulties of taking care of someone," said Shu, 33.

"But she has proved to me that she is not asking for a younger brother or sister as a new toy but takes the role as an elder sister seriously," she said, recalling with a smile the moments when her daughter shared toys with her playmate.

By contrast, Chen Jia, mother of a 6-year-old girl and a 15-month-old boy, finds it a headache to handle the relationship.

"Teachers told me that Chuchu (the sister) gets along well with younger playmates in kindergarten, but she is impatient with her younger brother at home and often makes him cry," the mother said.

"I guess she may think her brother takes away my love for her because I was so busy looking after the newborn that I paid less attention to her after I gave birth."

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