Many parents believe that their young kids are unable to learn a second language because they're still developing their first language skills. However, learning a second language at a young age is better. Kids can learn multiple languages at one time when it's much harder for adults to do so.
The window of opportunity to work on a second language is when your child is between the ages of birth and six years old. The younger a child is, the easier he can learn a second language. Of course, kids and adults can learn other languages, but it doesn't come as easy or fluently.
Here are reasons why you should teach your child a second language.
1. More Job Opportunities
We live in a global society, and being able to have second (or several) language skills opens more job opportunities. Many employers will pay a higher salary for workers who can speak foreign languages. Jobs in education, healthcare, social work, national security, and international business (just to name a few ) require or prefer employees who are bilingual. It will open up more job possibilities.
2. You Can Speak to More People
The most important reason that you want to learn a second language is to be able to speak to more people. Speaking to people in their language helps to better your understanding and deepen connections. Kids can have cross-cultural friendships and different traveling opportunities.
3. It Helps Their Brain Development
People who have bilingual can multi-task better and have stronger attention skills than those who speak one language. It is believed that this is due to the brain having to pick the right language to use at the right time.
The development isn't just for adults and older kids. Babies who are exposed to multiple languages from an early age show different cognitive patterns. Interesting, right?
4. It Improves Their Native Language Skills
You might think that a child would be more confused by learning a second language, but most evidence shows that kids who learn a foreign language understand their native language better. This could be because they have to study grammar and learn how to identify grammatical errors more often.
5. The Skills May Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Unfortunately, it seems as if the cure for Alzheimer's Disease won't be arriving yet, but studies show that those who speak a second language may be able to prevent or delay the onset of these declines. Some scientists believe that it might be because bilinguals have a cognitive reserve to help delay the symptoms.
6. Kids Learn About Other Cultures
It's so easy to live in a bubble and forget that there is so much more to the world. Exposing our children to other cultures is important. There are 7 billion other humans living on this planet with us after all! Communication is key to meeting other people and being able to learn about their cultures.
7. Traveling is More Fun
International travel is a great way to introduce your child to different cultures, and learning foreign languages allows your child to connect more with the location and people. They can converse with the locals and feel as if they are living there. Foreigners always appreciate when tourists try to speak their language just as much as we appreciate when someone tries to speak English while visiting America.
Have you introduced a second language to your child yet? If so, what language is your child learning?