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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 one language.

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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