Benefits of Raising Bilingual Children

Introduction

Knowing two languages is not a big deal in some cultures of the world. Some children are just accustomed to two languages from an early age because of the different origins of their parents. These children have shown noticeable signs of early development compared to children who only know one language. This article aims to educate parents about the benefits of raising bilingual children.

Why is Learning a Second Language as a Child Easier?

Parents often ask this question: Is it okay to thrust a second language upon your child when they are struggling with a primary language?

In their early years, children get familiarized with a lot of things. Once they join kindergarten or preschool, their environment and activities change drastically. They learn to be friends with other children and play with them. This is how they acquire the feeling of compassion for their fellow beings and at the same time develop the skills of competition. While this may seem to be a lot to parents, this comes naturally to children. And like these things, learning a second language also comes very naturally.

Human brains are wired uniquely at a young age. A child’s early years are the critical stage of development when the brain is most receptive to new things. Children exposed to a bilingual household or environment can spot the switch in language when they are six months old. A survey by the University of Washington News shows that 27 percent of children under the age of 6 in the US are learning a language other than English. Some people believe that learning a second language will hamper or damage a child’s ability to excel at their native language. This is simply not true. In fact, learning a second language can be very instrumental in their linguistic excellence.

When adults try to learn a new language, they focus on grammar and vocabulary. But for a child, patterns, sounds, and structure hold more importance. It is easier to learn a language naturally by emphasizing patterns and structures rather than by rules constructed by linguists. Up to the age of 8, the ear and the speech muscles are flexible enough to mimic any sound. So, it is also easier for children to pick up particular accents.

It will be a lot easier to learn a second language as a child than it will be as an adult.

Benefits of Being Bilingual as a Child

Here are some of the benefits of raising bilingual children:

  • Better Concentration: A child has to choose which language to use in a particular situation and quickly repress the other one. This focus and decision-making ability have given bilingual children an above-average concentration level. It also helps them to be attentive even in a noisy classroom.
  • Problem-Solving Ability: A psychoanalytical study was conducted by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin to understand the benefits of bilingualism. The study showed that bilingual children could sort out objects based on their shapes and colors more effortlessly than monolingual children who had trouble differentiating shapes. This indicates that bilingual children have better mental alertness that helps in problem-solving.
  • Creativity: Bilingual children develop advanced cognitive skills and are better at learning shapes than monolingual children. As such, they are also good at art. The flexibility of their thought process helps them to create original and brilliant works of art compared with monolingual children, who are often bound by conventions and rules.
  • Ability to Hypothesize: As per studies, the ability to hypothesize or be imaginative comes naturally to bilingual children. This is also a part of their inherent creativity that comes from not having a static linguistic ability.
  • Language and Vocabulary: This is pretty much given. If a child knows more than one language, their interest in how languages and words work in those languages would be higher than in monolingual children. This interest develops into a more extensive thirst for linguistic knowledge and procedures. Their concepts of grammar and language structure are also more developed and substantial.
  • Brain Exercise: Having to choose between two languages while they compete in your head to be spoken out loud is a pretty exhaustive brain exercise. Unlike other parts of our body, the brain becomes more active if exercised continuously.
  • Better Memory: By using two languages masterfully in daily life, a bilingual child effortlessly retains a lot of information. The brain has to retain more information regarding words, grammar, and syntax of two languages than a single language. This ability gives a bilingual child an overall better memory than others.
  • Better Communication Skills: A child who has learned to speak two languages at an early age has mastered the art of interpersonal communications in more ways than one. First, they understand the importance of listening. Listening is the best way to learn another language or actually understand what the other person is saying. Second, they are not bound by the conventions of one language, so they are better communicators who understand the differences between people.
  • Inclusiveness: Again, not having the boundary of one language makes bilingual children more open to new experiences and new people. This helps them later in life when making humanitarian decisions.

Future Benefits of Being Bilingual

While learning a second language may be beneficial for children, it has a number of benefits for adults also–

  • Cultural Awareness: A bilingual child with comprehension of two languages would most certainly grow up to be an adult with more knowledge about different cultures and not just one.
  • Convenience in Traveling: Knowing two languages can make traveling to foreign destinations easier because communication becomes effortless.
  • Better Demand in the Job Market: In an era of globalization, knowing two languages will eventually increase a person’s demand in the job market. In more ways than one, a person knowing two languages would be of many benefits to a multinational corporation.
  • Easier Learning a Third Language: When a person already knows two languages, it is easier for them to learn a third language because they are already familiar with the procedure of learning a language.
  • Improved Social Life: Knowing two languages will open up a whole new range of social activities that a person can get involved in. Being bilingual will give you two linguistic communities that you can call your own.
  • Keeping Brain-Related Diseases at Bay: It has been proven that knowing and speaking two languages can protect the brain from diseases such as Alzheimer’s longer than people knowing and speaking one language.
  • Ability to Raise Bilingual Children: A bilingual person will raise bilingual children more easily than a monolingual person who has to hire educators for the child to learn a second language.

This article talks extensively about the immense benefits of raising bilingual children. Even parents of bilingual children, who are not bilingual themselves, can benefit from their child’s learning process. Learning a language is different from learning to do anything else. It becomes a part of your life and self in a way no other skill can.

To further support your children on their Mandarin Chinese learning journey, sign them up for a free trial with us today.

At LingoAce, we provide many helpful and innovative resources specially tailored to your child’s needs. Each lesson your child takes with us is a product of over 100 hours of curriculum creation, courseware production, mock teaching, teacher training, and quality control (QC) rounds.

Recommended for you