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The benefits of learning a second language are numerous, especially when it comes to young children. Longitudinal studies by Harvard University confirm that learning additional languages increases critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility of the mind in young children.

Top 7 Reasons Your Child Will Benefit from Learning a Second Language

Children who grow up learning a second language from a young age – starting as early as three years old- benefit tremendously. Children’s brains are able to soak in a second language at an impressive rate. Not only that, but they are essentially able to learn to speak the language without an accent.

1. Better Linguistic Abilities

Exposing a child to a second language at an early age will result in much easier and better fluency than if they learn later in life. Children’s brains are developmentally ready to accept and learn a second language, and fluency comes fairly easily, rapidly, and without accent. Therefore, learning a second language will enhance your child's linguistic abilities.

2. Better Cognitive Performance
Research shows that language learning is more cognitive than linguistic. According to the experts, the process of learning a new language allows children to work on their memory skills, problem solving abilities and reading skills.

Children who speak a second or third language are usually able to perform better at school. Studies have shown that children who speak more than one language consistently have better grades in just about all subjects.

3. Enhanced Thinking Skills
It is not only cognitive abilities where children who speak a second language seem to outperform others; this has also been known to make children more open minded with regards to how they view the world.

Being able to think "outside of the box" is something that many professionals hold in high regard because this is related to more effective problem solving abilities. Those who speak more than one language do not simply develop this ability because of the processes that go into learning a new language; they also come into contact with a wider variety of individuals from different backgrounds.

4. More Confidence
Being able to speak more than one language is something that is held in high esteem by society, so children who can do this often benefit from an increase in confidence. In addition, children who can speak another language often find it easier to make friends within different cultural groups, and this can be a confidence booster in itself.

5. Better Prospects at University
Universities hold students who can speak a second language in high regard, and in instances where students are competing for a prominent spot within the institution of their choice, this might just give someone the edge that they are looking for.

6. More Job Opportunities in Adulthood
A child that takes the time to learn a second language when they are young can actually use these skills to improve their job prospects when they get older. With globalization, more and more companies are looking for employees that can communicate in two or three different languages. In some instances, an individual might be able to receive a promotion just because they can speak a second language, and in other instances, they could look forward to being relocated around the world because of their abilities.

7. Improvement on Their First Language
Learning a new language invariably leaves people thinking about the complexities of their own language.Those who choose to add another language to their set of skills will most likely find that it allows them to speak their own native language much more easily, because they consciously think about how to go about improving their abilities. Among other benefits, speaking a new language could end up allowing someone to add a wide variety of words to their expanding vocabulary.

Helping Your Child Speak a Second Language

Learning a second language does not cause language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit, which have been concerns in the past. In fact, according to studies at the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab (CLAL), children who learn a second language can maintain attention despite outside stimuli better than children who know only one language.

I speak three languages and my daughter was learning her third language when she was 4 years old since my husband’s and my families speaking two different languages, and we live in U.S. I definitely know there are some advantages for being multi-language speakers as I am experiencing and taking the advantage of it in my work and life. There are more and more bilingual/multilingual Children because of globalization.

The world we live contains a diversity of populations speaking in various languages. Because of increasing immigration, international commerce, tourism, business, and modern technology, we live in a multilingual multicultural global society. The obvious benefit of learning a second, or a third or more languages is we can understand more culture and communicate with more people who speak different languages, and help more people. Therefore, we may have more job and business opportunities.

According to studies, it has been shown that learning a second language results in students achieving greater divergent thinking, creativity, and cognitive development compared to those who are monolingual. A number of studies have also shown that when students learn a second language they have a tendency of outscoring those who are proficient in only a single language on tests of nonverbal and verbal intelligence. In addition, their academic skills such as their abilities in mathematics, writing, and reading are enhanced.

Learning a second language can not only challenge our mind, but also enrich our soul by communicating and understanding more cultures and more people. Therefore, we can get along well with more people, enjoy more efficient team work, help more people and achieve fulfillment and success. There is no doubt that Bilingual/multilingual Children have a lot of advantages.

I highly recommend you help your child start early and learn Chinese with Kids Chinese Podcast.

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