BENEFITS OF RAISING BILINGUAL CHILDREN.
Bilingual children have an advantage over children who can only speak one language.
They can interact with non-English speaking family members, gain a deeper understanding
of their other culture and grasp language at a much faster rate than monolingual
children. So if either you or your spouse speak another language, you owe it to
your children to teach them both languages. This article will look at 5 benefits
of raising bilingual children.
Ability to form relationships with other relatives
Children who are raised bilingual will have the ability to converse with their parents
and extended family members in their mother tongue. They can form relationships
more easily if they can converse and not feel isolated and cut off from their family.
It gives them a sense of belonging, that they will not have if they can only speak
Grasp second language easily
Years ago, educators discouraged bilingual children from developing their language
skills in two languages. Some believed it was best to just learn one language and
to leave their other language and culture behind. Some even believed that a second
language would "confuse" children and that they would end up muddling up the two
languages and using them in the wrong setting. However, the truth is that bilingual
children can grasp languages at an astonishing rate, that adult learners may marvel
at, without actually confusing the two. Each language is usually separated early
on in life and used in the appropriate setting. Bilingual children can learn a language
naturally and with ease, without having to resort to a classroom setting to learn
a second language. Language is learned most easily when children are exposed to
it in a natural setting, such as within the home, where one or both parents can
speak another language.
A third language will come easily
Children who have been able to master two languages by the time they have started
school will be able to take on a third language. Changing from a natural learning
environment to a classroom setting can be challenging at first, but it is still
a good environment for children to start learning a new language, as they have already
learned to adapt to more than one language. Bilingual children notice differences
in expression, cultural influences and they can sometimes even see the origin of
some commonly used words.
Ability to live and work abroad
Bilingual children can live and work abroad if they are able to get by well in their
mother tongue. This can open up many new doors of opportunity for them, as they
make the move and immerse themselves more easily into a culture that they are already
familiar with. They can work as translators or in other fields where they can put
either of their languages to good use.
They are less likely to feel prejudiced
Bilingual children are sensitive to other cultures and languages and are less likely
to demonstrate prejudice towards people from other countries. They will feel sympathy
for immigrants and empathy for their children as they learn a second language. Prejudice
is often caused by ignorance, but bilingual children will be free of that and have
a unique insight into the lives of other language learners.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile raising your children to become bilingual. First
and foremost, it will ensure that they still feel part of their wider family. Can
you imagine how they would feel if they had to struggle to hold a conversation with
their grandmother? Bilingual training will therefore preserve their first cultural
identity. Young children are all capable of learning a second or even a third language,
so do not think it will stunt their growth. It will actually contribute to it. If
you wait until your children are teenagers to start teaching them another language,
it could be too late.
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