15 Reasons to Teach Children a Second Language
Many parents enroll their children, toddlers, and preschoolers in foreign language classes, and the numbers will augment. Learning a new language will help children in their brain growth, deepen their empathy and have a good cross-culture understanding. Also, foreign languages are easily acquired as a child, and giving the child a chance to learn a foreign language is like a gift. Thus, this article covers all the benefits of a second language for children and the reasons for learning a second language.
15 Reasons for Teaching a Second Language to Children
There are many reasons for children to learn a second language, and here are the most significant ones concerning the benefits they provide.
1. Good for brain health
Studies show that learning two languages in early childhood improves cognitive abilities (increased attentiveness, adaptability to switching between tasks, and excellent memory). This is because exercising the brain helps keep degenerative disorders away, making the brain more active. Furthermore, studies indicate that learning a second language can delay the onset of brain disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
2. Makes them smarter
As per studies, bilingual people have better multitasking and attentive abilities than monolinguals. Furthermore, studies have proven that bilingual people showed more gray matter developing around childhood and adolescence, leading to increased attentiveness. It is also said that children who learn multiple languages in early childhood show increased cognitive advantages. This also led to the prediction that learning multiple languages makes children smarter.
3. Childhood is the prime time
When children are young, they have a lot of time to perfect their language skills. This is because a child’s brain possesses more synapses when compared to adults, which means that they can learn languages better than adults. Furthermore, research shows that pre-puberty is when the brain is primed to understand and grasp everything.
4. Boosts cross-cultural understanding
The world has over 7 billion people living in it, and it is essential to get along. Any therapist would say that to get along, communication is the key. It gets easier when people can understand other languages, which helps build cultural understandings and deep insights into how people see the world.
5. Boosts empathy
As per research, it is said that children learn to understand the world through another cultural perspective or viewpoint when they discover a second language. This is because it helps expand their perspective-taking skills and ability to empathize.
6. It helps develop multitasking abilities
Studies show that a second language for children increases critical thinking, problem-solving, speaking, and listening skills. It also improves concentration, attention, memory, and the development of good multitasking ability.
7. Better problem-solving skills
Children who speak more than one language know that negotiation is crucial for communicating. Therefore, knowing more than one language helps in problem-solving tasks and gives children the ability to seek different approaches to a problem. However, few studies show some sort of relation between bilingualism and several cognitive skills.
8. Attentive to details
Though it is a widespread belief that young children get confused when introduced to multiple languages, it is not valid anymore. Children are known to grasp or are attentive to minute differences in languages and gestures. Hence, it is not hard for children to learn multiple languages. Instead, it is a matter of finding another difference between people.
9. Higher academic achievements
Learning a second language for children positively impacts their academic achievements. For example, bilingual children have better reading and writing skills and perform better in verbal tests when compared to monolingual children.
10. It boosts career opportunities
Language education is critical in the future workplace. Career options are enormous for bilingual people than for monolinguals. There are many job opportunities in healthcare, social work, translation, and tourism for people with bilingualism. For instance, many businesses favor bilingual candidates because of their eligibility to pursue courses, do internships, and get jobs in foreign countries.
11. Ability to speak to more people
This is the most common reason people prefer learning a new language. There is a connection and understanding when people speak to others in their language. Furthermore, learning a new language at a young age gives lifetime benefits from cross-culture friendship to wider career opportunities.
12. A healthy hobby
Different children have different hobbies. However, having a hobby that helps in brain development is better. Among those productive hobbies is learning a second language. Parents must think of teaching and nurturing a love for learning a second language for children, which will surely exercise the brain and give them a head start in life.
13. It is fun
When learning a new language, joy comes to people when they can speak more than one language. It gives a sense of accomplishment.
14. Easily interact with multinationals
It is said that bilinguals effortlessly interact with multinationals when compared to others. Moreover, children who know more than one language become more culturally aware and can comprehend cultural differences, which allows them to see the world with new eyes.
Exposing children to a foreign language helps them develop an ear for the language, allowing better pronunciation and fluency. This is because children are attentive and can distinguish between discrete sounds.
4 Activities to Help Children Learn a Second Language
Here are a few ways how parents can make the learning process more entertaining:
1. Play scrabble
Yes, play scrabble with a hint of twist. Make words in the language that they are learning. For example, if someone is learning Mandarin Chinese, they can form words with the help of a dictionary initially and then form their own words when they are capable enough. They can play it alone or with their family and friends, which is an excellent method to jog up the memory.
2. Watch movies and dramas
Everyone these days loves to watch movies and series—be it toddlers or elders. There are many series with subtitles in other languages on the internet. Parents can change the audio or subtitle settings to their desired language. Doing so will help children comprehend the local language and not the formal usage. Parents can also turn off the subtitles to test their children’s listening skills and pick up local idioms easily.
3. Reading in the language
Even if a person does not understand most words, the dictionary is there to help. Nevertheless, reading in the second language will expose children to numerous words and how they are used in different contexts. Perhaps parents can start with a children’s book in the beginning and then move on to difficult words and sentence structure.
4. Play trivia games
Newcomers can look for trivia games as it is easier to learn new words quickly. One can even practice their speaking skills while reading the questions aloud to boost their listening and comprehending skills.
There are many novel ways to learn a new language. It does not have to be a dull marker and board method. Many fun activities in the market help children better understand the language. Learning a second language offers numerous advantages for children regarding communicative ability, cognitive development, and cultural awareness.
LingoAce helps children learn Mandarin Chinese in a playful yet effective manner. We provide the best of both worlds. We engagingly teach children and keep the class size small so that each child gets their teacher’s undivided attention.
If you want to help your child to get started with the Mandarin Chinese language, sign them up for a free trial lesson with us today.