According to the latest research, bilingual children read and analyze faster, are less stressed, and better at coping with conflict. Their brains are more flexible and will even be able to withstand dementia as they age.
Physiologically, the brain of bilinguals produces more gray matter in the lower parietal cortex, which makes it better able to analyze information. Children who start learning languages before the age of 5 develop the fluency part of the brain better. This does not mean that bilingualism makes someone smarter or more talented, but it does mean that it can improve the quality of the brain for some tasks.
Learning two languages will undoubtedly have a positive effect on any child. However, there are some things every parent should know when raising a bilingual child.
The languages a child is learning may not be equally developed. One can dominate, be developed orally, the second – in writing. If each of the parents lives according to the principle “one person – one language” and speaks only their own language, the languages are strictly divided in usage. If parents use two languages at the same time, difficulties can arise.
2. Learning too many languages at the same time can confuse your child
For some parents, it is extremely important that their child is the best at everything – from having skills in pottery and ice skating to knowing five languages at the age of 7. Of course, the more languages you know, the broader horizons you have. One may be wondering how many languages can you learn and there is a really high limit, but it is not natural to teach your children all of them when they are still in kindergarten.
It is important to speak your native language at home. Let this be the rule in your family.
3. There is always a dominant language
As they grow up, children raised in bilingual families may experience varying degrees of language proficiency. They may not mix them when communicating, but sometimes you notice some inclusions of constructions that were taken from another language. Sometimes a child only remembers a few names of things, but it is already difficult for him to formulate a whole phrase. Parents need to explain to the child how to pronounce this or that word correctly. Don’t let mixed statements appear.
4. A place where you live matter
For children, it is a lot easier to learn new languages, but this requires consistency and routine. Don’t expect your child to learn a second language just by watching foreign cartoons on TV. When a child is getting older, it is important to continue learning the languages you chose/speak at home, and sometimes working on improving them outside the house is a better idea. In this case, the place where you live matters as, the number and quality of educational services in big cities is different from small towns, judging from the list of language-learning schools and translation companies in nyc and the same services in Winslow, Arizona, for example. It means parents from small cities may need more effort and patience to raise a bilingual child.
5. It is never too early or too late to start learning the second language
Just by the age of 5, children grasp a second language really easily. They do it well even up to ten years old. But at a more adult age, it becomes more difficult to master a new language. The most optimal age for mastering a second language is from birth to 3 years. If at this age you have not had time to give your child a second language, then you will have a chance to do it between the ages of four and seven.
BIO: Michael Carr
Michael is a passionate author who does deep research before writing on any topic he is interested in. He loves writing on psychological, behavioral theories, relationships, and motivation. For Michael, it is extremely important to make sure all the information he is giving is relevant and interesting to read.