It’s no secret, new language acquisition is beneficial during early childhood development. It doesn’t matter the language—when a child is multilingual, it provides a bounty of benefits. If you’re researching educational options that teach foreign language for kids, you’re already on the right path to giving your child a gift that will last a lifetime.
Learning another language helps the mind to think differently. Your child not only benefits from knowing several languages, but this manner of thinking can help them in other subject areas, too. Often, multilingual children do better in math, science and music.
Parents magazine points out some compelling research about the ongoing benefits of learning foreign languages:
• Psychological Science suggests that simply thinking in a foreign language helps people make quicker and better life decisions.
• A study by the College Entrance Examination Board reports a direct correlation between foreign language study and high SAT scores.
• People who speak a foreign language often enjoy better career prospects and higher standards of living.
• A University of Chicago study suggests that a second language also helps prevent dementia later in life.
The actions you take today could potentially benefit your kids 30 years from now! Your next logical question might be which foreign languages are best for your children to learn? The answer to this is a personal decision, and there is no “best language.” However, there are some points to consider so you can make the right choice for your family.
The first consideration is if you speak a non-English language. Parents and caregivers who are multilingual may want their children to learn the same languages they know. For example, you might sign your child up for German language classes because you speak German, and therefore it would be easy to practice at home; this can create a wonderful bond with your young learner.
Another consideration might be your family heritage. Even if you don’t speak the language of your ancestors, you might have strong ties to cultural traditions. These ties could draw you toward one language or another. If you’re proud of your Italian heritage, consider enrolling your kids in Italian classes. They’ll surely be able to teach you a cultural thing or two, plus new words and phrases they learn in class!
You might also consider what languages are being spoken where you live. If you reside in a city or region with a strong cultural tie, your child might benefit from learning the second language most used in the area. It can really help children feel closer to their community when they know how to speak to others in a different language.
The same goes for if you frequently travel to an area where residents speak a foreign language. A child may feel more comfortable when they can communicate in the native tongue.
Some parents prefer to have their children learn commonly spoken languages in hopes they’ll be more likely to use them in the future. For example, according to Wikipedia, Spanish is spoken by more than 38 million people in the United States, making it the second most common language behind English.
Still, others prefer to have their kids learn less commonly spoken languages in the United States, such as Arabic or French. Why? There are many reasons, but some parents believe that when kids know languages considered to be more difficult or uncommon, they may be in demand later in life, such as in college or at work.
The good news is you can’t go wrong if you’ve decided it’s time for your child to learn another language. The younger they start, the easier it is for them to learn. It’s also easier to develop multilingual skills as a child, and we often see pairings like Spanish and Mandarin or Spanish and French, as examples; there are many reasons to pair two world languages together depending on your goals.
Explore your options and consider enrolling in an introductory trial class at your nearest Language Stars center today!