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Bilingual Babies: The Benefits of Teaching Your Child a Second Language

Some parents want to teach their child a second language. Though some may argue that teaching a child a second language when they have yet to master their first is not a good idea, they’re wrong. Children are better learners than adults, even if their comprehension isn’t as fine-tuned. Children enjoy mimicking, and since they’re in the stage of learning the basics of their first language, they pay constant and detailed attention to the sounds and patterns of speech, making them retain information better than their adult counterparts.

 

Plus, teaching a child a second language actually has a large number of benefits.

 

They’ll be a better reader.

Children who are bilingual have an easier time learning how to read than those children who only know one language. They have a better understanding of vowels, consonants and phonics, so they can more easily decipher written words and sound them out, giving them an advantage over other children. And if you teach your child how to read in two languages at a young age, you’ll give them more of an advantage.

 

They’re better test takers.

Recent studies have shown that children who can speak two languages do better on standardized tests than students who only speak one language. A study by the College Board showed that students who studied a foreign language for at least four years scored an average of 140 points higher on the reading portion of the SATs than those students with half a year of studying or less. These students also scored an average of 140 points higher on math and 150 points higher in writing.

 

They’ll have a healthier brain.

Your brain is an important part of your body. It helps you function through your daily activities, and it has many responsibilities. Like other parts of your body, your brain needs to be exercised on a regular basis, and children who are bilingual provide a great deal of exercise to their brain. An active brain improves speech, senses and memory, which are all extremely important.

 

They’ll build confidence.

Young children are constantly learning new things, and when they have a firm grasp on what they learn, it builds confidence. When a child is studying a second language and they start to put the right words with the right objects or use the right sentence structure, they will feel a sense of accomplishment, which in turn builds confidence.

 

They’ll learn to speak naturally.

When a child starts learning a second language, they pay attention to the exact way words are pronounced. They notice the small differences that the rest of us don’t pay attention to. For this reason, children learn how to speak the second language with a more natural and native accent. The more you can expose your child to natural language, the more natural their pronunciation will be.

 

They’ll be better prepared for college or their career.

Many colleges and employers are putting a focus on finding applicants that are bilingual, and they’re more inclined to choose the applicant who has been speaking a second language fluently for their entire life versus those that started in high school. Knowing a second language in college can allow your child to study abroad or even major in the language, which can open up the door to a wealth of opportunities.

 

They’ll spend more time with family.

When you teach your child a second language, it forces you to spend more time as a family. You are providing them with lessons and teaching them new words and phrases for objects around the home. If your family is bilingual, your child will want to participate in the conversations you’re having, and you can easily make their learning a family event. Plus, when they do have a thorough understanding of the language, it will create a bond between your family that cannot be broken.

 

If you’re considering teaching your child a second language, you’ll be setting them up for greatness. Make sure that you take your time and set realistic expectations. This will make the learning easier on both you and your child.


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May 19, 2017
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