15 Benefits of Being Bilingual for Childhood
Benefits of being bilingual from an early age
The ability to speak multiple languages may be a desired quality in a world that is becoming increasingly multicultural and international, especially when bilingualism has social, economic, and intellectual benefits. The majority of Americans (80%) believe children should become fluent in a second language before they graduate from high school.
What does a bilingual child mean?
Here are some recommendations for successfully fostering dual language acquisition in children if you share the desire to raise a bilingual child. Even if you don’t speak another language yourself, you can still benefit from some of these tactics if your household is already bilingual. Vocabulary and grammar development in children’s respective languages is predicted by the volume of language input they receive. There is a better chance of successfully acquiring a language with richer input. Children who hear many words, for example, have a larger vocabulary size. Never underestimate the benefits of regularly exposing your child to two languages. Children’s language development is also influenced by the quality of language input.
Fortunately, a growing number of people from all walks of life are learning languages these days. In fact, bilingual or multilingual people represent more than half of the world’s population. So what are those who speak only one language missing?
Here are 15 advantages of being bilingual:
1. Better Focus
The two languages compete for attention when a bilingual child speaks. The child must choose one, immediately delete the other and move quickly from one to the other. This skill allows children to concentrate better in a busy classroom and block out all other unimportant sounds.
2. Arithmetic and problem solving
Children who speak two languages are more mentally attentive, which makes it much easier for them to solve difficulties. According to research by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin, pros of bilinguals categorize objects by shapes and colors more easily than their monolingual peers.
3. Creativity and ability to make assumptions
Since their brains are accustomed to decoding and interpreting two or more languages, bilingual children have an easier time coming up with and explaining scientific ideas.
4. Improve language and vocabulary
Because of their knowledge of sounds and tenses, bilingual children do better in reading and spelling words. This will give them an advantage over other students when they start studying languages at school. Learning a second language improves your ability to analyze your mother tongue and broadens your linguistic horizons. It is easier to learn a third or fourth language since you have a better understanding of how the language works and you have already gained experience.
5. Brain exercise
Even when a young bilingual speaks in one language, both sides of their brain are constantly alert and functioning. Their cognitive abilities are improved since their brain is slightly more active than a monolingual brain. A fantastic way to maintain a healthy and sharp brain is to learn a new language. Being bilingual can benefit a person’s multitasking skills, their focus, attention, creativity and ability to think outside the box can all benefit from being multilingual. Memory will also benefit; it will come in handy when shopping and remembering people’s names!
6. Communicate better
Children who speak multiple languages have mastered the skills of listening and understanding others, which improves their communication skills. It’s more of an advantage of being brought up in a multilingual environment where you have to pay attention and understand other people’s points of view.
7. Better memory
A bilingual child must be able to remember a lot of information and be able to produce it on demand if learning two languages. This helps children remember vital information like dates, directions as well as their school work.
8. Faster Response
Have you ever noticed how slow children can be to respond to commands or incidents? Learning several languages forces the brain to quickly switch from one to another depending on who you are talking to. The brain gets used to quick responses and correspondingly reduced reaction times.
9. Improved social life and better family relationships
A child’s ability to interact better with others opens up a whole new world when speaking a second or third language. Being able to talk with people from different cultures helps break the ice and builds trust. Better communication with family members who belong to this culture is also beneficial. Being multilingual exposes a person to many traditions, concepts and viewpoints from various civilizations. Although you don’t need to acquire a second language to learn about different cultures, it makes for a more immersive experience. Speaking a second language increases your social skills and confidence while opening up a wide range of new social changes.
Multilingual children are more adaptable and open-minded since you have already exposed them to a range of tolerance. In addition, they are more tolerant and understanding towards others, which translates into compassion and empathy.
11. Give kids an academic edge
According to studies, bilingual children can perform better than monolingual children in various academic areas. Bilingualism has benefits that can last for many years, including improvements in a child’s cognitive development, social skills, literacy, and emotional skills.
12. Make travel easier and more enjoyable
Language learning is essential if you travel the world or want to. When there is no language barrier, traveling is much more pleasant and simple. You can also have a more authentic and immersive experience. Along the route, you can directly interact with the locals and make more friends. A bonus is being able to ask for directions when you get lost and knowing what food to order without referring to pictures.
13. Improve competitiveness in the labor market
Depending on the languages you speak, learning a second language can increase your employment opportunities. The importance of communication in the workplace has led to an increase in the number of companies placing a high priority on bilingualism, especially those with international operations. Another significant advantage is being able to
14. You can raise your children better bilingual
Raising your children bilingually can help them recognize the value of their culture and heritage as well as develop a stronger sense of self. It is a wonderful gift to give to your children, especially if the language spoken at home is different from that taught at school. Just having the knowledge of a second language will go a long way in encouraging your children to acquire it as well.
15. Stay mentally stronger longer
According to recent research, bilingual people have brains that age more slowly and therefore lead longer and more fulfilled lives. Being multilingual can prevent brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which is now a widely accepted fact.
At a young age, acquiring bilingualism is as natural as learning to walk or crawl. Children who acquire decoding skills in one language will easily translate into English or any other language. Multicultural parenting may not be the easiest, but it has many benefits for children. As we have seen, the advantages of being bilingual are multiple.
Also read: Crucial parenting principles to make a difference in your child’s life