More Reasons to Teach Multiple Languages to Your Child

When I was teaching my son to talk when he was little, I was struggling with what language to teach first. So, I decided to start with English because he can benefit from it a lot. Now, I am starting to teach him multiple languages to expand his vocabulary. 

Growing up, we were exposed to at least two languages at home. We learned Chinese, English, and Filipino at school. It wasn’t fun having to study multiple languages, but now that I am a grown-up, I realize how useful knowing different languages to our lives.

Cognitive benefits of learning a second language at an early age

Contrary to what you may think, there are many benefits of learning a new language at a young age. Besides expanding your child’s brain from memorization, learning a second language helps enhance problem-solving and critical thinking skills. 

Some might think that the disadvantages of learning a foreign language at an early age outweigh the advantages. However, once you learn that babies exposed to multiple languages have many benefits, you will no doubt start teaching a second language to your child. 

Enhances brain development

One of the most important benefits of learning multiple languages at once is that brain activity is increased. A study proved that when a child is learning two languages simultaneously, the processing demands on her brain are more than those who only learn one language during infancy. 

Best of all, researchers found that the boost in brain activity can last until the baby reaches old age. However, to get the best results, make sure that your child has full development of the dominant language to avoid getting confused about which language becomes her mother language. 

Higher test scores

After having said that learning multiple languages helps with cognitive development in our brains, a study also proves that bilinguals score higher on test scores than their unilingual counterparts. 

What’s more, the study subjects identified themselves as multilingual, without showing proof that they are proficient in the other languages. It goes to show that when students believed in their capabilities to learn, they are more eager to learn. 

So, if you want your child to become a learner, make sure to show your support. When children know the people around them believe in them, they are more likely to excel in what they want to do. 

teaching multiple languages,
Teaching multiple languages can help your child to do better in exams.

Advantage in reading 

Biologically speaking, children are not expected to learn to read until they reach 5 or 6. But even before they start to read, children learn to talk by making blabbing sounds until they form words. So how do you think learning multiple languages helps with reading? 

When we speak, we use different phonetics and tones depending on the type of language. Using them incorrectly may mean a different word, which could confuse the other party a person is talking to. 

For example, there is the long A and short A sound in English. Examples of words that use the long A sound are make, cake, and grate. On the other hand, cat, bad, and mat all use the short A sound. 

I heard from other preschool teachers that some students have hard time with phonetics. You can do your part in helping your child out by teaching phonetics when talking to her.

In the Mandarin Chinese language, tones are very important because a change in a single tone can refer to another term. For example, the word “ma” can mean 4 different words depending on the intonation. 

Using the first tone, you mean “mother” but with the second tone, you are referring to the word “hemp.” When you use the third tone, you are talking about “horse” but you are “scolding” someone when you use the fourth tone. 

When children are exposed to different languages at once, you are helping them build a better vocabulary. As a result, they have an easier time learning to read and write. So if you want your child to be ahead of her peers, you can start teaching 2 or 3 languages while she is still young so she can ease her way to reading. 

multiple languages, reading,
A child equipped with multiple languages can read better than others.

Learning the correct accent

Listening to parents talk is one way children can learn different words. I noticed that my toddler imitates my words and even my intonation usage! So we make sure to say the words we want our toddler to learn. 

As I have noted above, with the Mandarin Chinese language, you have to be very careful when using the intonations. Besides teaching the right words, we also have to be intentional about teaching the right tone to say what we mean. 

When I want to teach my son words, may it be English or Chinese, I repeat the words many times. I noticed that he has learned to count in Mandarin after repeating it for a few days. That’s how fast children learn! 

Understanding different cultures

Learning multiple languages can help children learn more about different cultures. One can have a connection with the different people of other cultures upon learning about their language. I am trying to learn Nihongo and I can see how their culture differs from Filipinos and Chinese. 

While children are still too young to know about cultural differences, starting early can help them connect with other people of other cultures at a deeper level when they grow up. 

The takeaway

Knowing about the different benefits of learning a foreign language at an early age can help us better teach our children at home. Now, you do not have to worry about your child getting confused when you use another language and they learn about it. 

Start teaching your children multiple languages early to get the most benefits! 

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