Children’s educational standards worldwide have been impacted by globalization and exposure to other cultures and languages. Bilingualism has been the subject of a large number of neuropsychological research, many of which emphasize bilingualism’s ‘practical advantage,’ equating it to intellectual versatility – just like famed Cambodian boy, Salik, whose video of him speaking 12 languages went viral in 2018.
In short, children who speak two (or more) native languages enjoy a lot of benefits over their monolingual peers.
Here are five reasons why you should teach your child to speak two or more languages
1. Exercises the mind
The number of neurons in the prefrontal cortex increases with frequent physical activity, therefore it’s logical to believe that continually utilizing and switching between two languages is excellent brain training. Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, DC, have backed up this hypothesis of ‘linguistic exercising.’ Experiments have revealed that learning a second language improves the density of grey matter in the brain.
Scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle have backed this notion. Children from Spanish-American households have exceptionally active prefrontal regions of the cerebral cortex, which are crucial for verbal fluency and change adaptability, according to their research.
2. Improving Cognitive Abilities
Extensive research, including recent work by psycholinguists from the University of Cyprus and scientists from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, has proven that bilingualism improves one’s capacity to appraise information and disregard irrelevant information. Researchers compared the cognitive abilities of those who speak two languages from an early age to those of monolingual individuals in studies.
Bilingual children, as per experts, have the ability to critically analyze information. They also have a better capability to block out distractions. This has everything to do with the circumstances in which they were raised. These youngsters get and digest data from two sources as they grow older, and they become accustomed to dealing with large volumes of data.
3. Promotes Creativity
People who are bilingual are generally successful in the arts. Bilinguals, according to research, see intricacies and nuances that monolinguals overlook. This is especially evident in the world of music. Bilinguals are especially skilled in this area because of their ability to differentiate sounds and melodies.
Research from the University of California, San Diego, has made some of the most outstanding discoveries in this subject. 60% of Chinese students with two languages had an excellent pitch. Meanwhile, just 14% of monolingual Americans can accomplish the same.
4. No Fear of Communication
In a positive way, bilingualism promotes a kind of “dual personality.” Someone who lives a “double life” is always more collected while conversing, as they know they have a backup plan at the end of the day. They can physically separate themselves from unpleasant feelings and think more clearly (Bilingual: Life and Reality (Harvard University Press).
This self-awareness allows individuals to be more receptive to other types of partnerships. Such children believe they have a higher ability to communicate with the outside world, which boosts their self-esteem.
5. Delaying Rapid Aging of the Brain
Doctors have long believed that brain growth delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in old age. This hypothesis is now backed up by recent scientific evidence. Researchers from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) presented figures in the journal Neuropsychologia revealing that dementia rates are 50% lower in nations where two languages are spoken than in places where only one is spoken.
Experts believe that talking in different languages is a universal strategy to prevent or delay the onset of dementia, similar to continually solving logic puzzles.
Having your child study and speak languages other than their mother tongue is both recommended and acceptable. A child’s education, on the other hand, should begin as soon as feasible. They begin working with children as young as four years old at the Novakid online English school. If you want to raise your monolingual child to be bilingual, now is the best age to start learning.
Until then, their first language, which they speak at home, has the possibility of becoming exclusive and dominating. After the age of seven, a child’s chances of speaking a second language fluently diminish greatly.