6 Benefits of Raising Bilingual Children
INCREASED COGNITIVE ABILITY – In a Time article, Jeffery Kluger says that babies are born with the inherent ability to speak and understand the world’s 6,800 languages. They continue to easily learn multiple languages up into early grammar school. Having gained these language abilities as babies and children, multilingual adults are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas. They work faster and expend less energy doing so, and as they age, they retain their cognitive faculties longer, delaying the onset of dementia and even full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.
MORE FLEXIBLE BRAIN – The ability to balance two separate languages and alternate between the two when the situation dictates requires a certain degree of flexibility. Because bilinguals may acquire two languages in the time in which monolinguals acquire one, they quickly become more flexible learners.
INCREASED LISTENING SKILLS – As children begin to tune their hearing to learn unfamiliar sounds and words in the new language, their listening skills develop. It is somewhat similar to a musician having a trained ear for the sounds of the notes over time.
HIGHER MEMORY RETENTION – As children memorize new words, they are actually helping their brain to be better at memory work in the future. As the brain is stimulated with difficult, new challenges, this boosts the brain’s health, vitality, and increase in memory power.
INCREASED MARKETABILITY IN THE FUTURE WORKPLACE – A study from a Los Angeles-based recruiter found that almost 9 out of 10 headhunters in Europe, Latin America, and Asia reported that bilingual skills are critical for success in today’s business setting. In this increasingly global world, bilingualism carries many benefits. Furthermore, 66 percent of North American recruiters agreed that being bilingual will become increasingly important over the next 10 years.
BETTER PROBLEM-SOLVERS – Language is like a puzzle. Letters and sounds fit together to make words, and then words fit together to make sentences. By fitting the pieces together in a new language, children become naturally more adept at problem-solving abilities.
Adapted from “6 Benefits of Raising Bilingual Children.”
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