Teaching your children how to speak more than one language can benefit them in many ways. From increased brain function to a greater appreciation of culture and the arts, here are eight reasons why kids should be bilingual.
Bilingual kids have been found to have hardworking brains.
1. Knowing more than one language helps to exercise their brains.
When children are bilingual, their brains are constantly juggling the two languages that they speak. This provides their minds with much-needed exercise without them even trying.
The “brain workout” that understanding two languages provides can prove to be beneficial to your kids in the future as well. It has been said to protect against early onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
2. Bilingual children are better at processing information.
As their brains juggle the words and context of the two languages that they speak, kids also learn to focus on relevant information and ignore unnecessary distractions. This trains their brains to become more efficient in processing information
This means that they have better cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to switch between two concepts or to think about multiple ideas simultaneously.
Because bilingual kids are able to focus better, it makes them more efficient at problem solving.
3. Kids who are bilingual are better problem solvers.
A study conducted in Scotland and Sardinia showed that children who are bilingual performed better at problem solving and creative thinking tests than those who only know one language.
In an article on BBC.com, Dr Fraser Lauchlan, who led the study, said, “There was a marked difference in the level of detail and richness in description from the bilingual pupils.”
He cited the bilingual children’s ability to focus on pertinent information as the reason behind their better performance.
4. Learning a new language as kids will make it easier for them to learn more languages in the future.
Kids should be bilingual from the time they are young because it makes it easier for them to learn new languages as they get older, according to a study from the University of Haifa in Israel.
The reason behind this is that languages reinforce one another. Kids who already speak two languages are more adept at processing sounds and patterns of speech, form, and structure, as well as syntax.
Go to the next page to check out four more reasons why kids should be bilingual.
Kids can make friends easily with other children who speak the same languages that they do.
5. Being bilingual helps promote socialization.
It is easier for children to interact with people who speak the same languages. Kids should be bilingual to make it possible for them to build stronger social connections.
Schools and communities are becoming more diverse. It is to children’s advantage if they are able to effectively communicate with others.
6. Kids who are bilingual are often more culturally aware.
When kids learn a new language, they also learn a new culture.
When children learn to communicate in a second language, they begin to understand the contextual meaning of words and phrases.
For example, when teaching a child the word adobo, you can also talk about its ingredients, how the recipe can vary depending on where it is made, and even about local customs like fiestas, where the dish is traditionally served.
This also allows you to teach your kids more deeply about their own heritage, as you compare the new culture they are learning with the one that they are growing up in.
When kids know other languages, they will have access to literature from other cultures, too. Imagine how well-read they will be!
7. Being bilingual can give kids a greater appreciation for the arts.
Their ability to understand more than one language gives bilingual kids broader access to a diverse selection of literature and arts. From movies and music to books and plays, there are countless forms of art that your kids can learn about and appreciate.
The ability to converse in two languages can render them eligible to study abroad. The skill may also give them the opportunity to work overseas or for multinational corporations.
The chance to travel can also serve as a reason why kids should be bilingual. Conversing and interacting with locals from other countries can make the experience more interesting and meaningful for children.
If you agree that learning a second language is advantageous to your kids, check out these useful tips on how you can start teaching them today.
Do you know any other reasons why kids should be bilingual?