Learning a new language may seem like a tricky task for your child, especially when they’re already learning so many new things every day. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits. Not only has it been found that learning a second language can improve your kids’ academic performance and career prospects, it can also help them become better thinkers, learners and citizens. Here’s some benefits that you should consider when deciding if your kids should learn a new language.
It’s good for brain development
One of the main reasons experts suggest getting your kids to learn a second language as soon as possible, rather than waiting until they’re older is because of how it affects their brain development. In fact, people who are bilingual generally are better at multitasking, focusing their attention, have an enhanced memory, and greater mental flexibility than those that can only speak one language. These benefits show up early too- new research has shown that babies less than a year old who were exposed to multiple languages showed different cognitive patterns in their brain compared to monolinguals. Brain scans showed that bilinguals had more gray matter in the regions of their brain involved in executive function.
Studies conducted by the University of Maine in 2007 show that learning a second language can help kids improve their academic performance across the board. This includes core subjects such as reading, English language and literacy and maths. The benefits also go beyond doing better in individual subjects. Bilingual children have also been found to have better critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and a greater mental flexibility, which all lead to improved academic performance.
Boosts career opportunities
Being bilingual can seriously broaden career options when your child is older. So many jobs nowadays require candidates that can speak a second language. This includes sectors such as education, healthcare, international business and national security. Often, they will favour or require people who are bilingual, meaning finding a well-paid job might be a little easier with this sought-after skill. It will also mean your child will be more eligible for certain internships and programmes for studying abroad, which can be extremely rewarding experiences.
When children learn a new language, they will also be learning about the culture of that country too. This not only increases their cultural awareness but creates a deeper understanding of humanity and appreciation for other ways of life. Having this respect and knowledge will help your child grow up to be a successful, contributing member of society. They will also have the ability to immerse themselves in a different country and use their language skills to access resources, people and places.