It’s no secret that we’re big fans of bilingualism around here. We believe the more languages, the merrier! Dutch, Mandarin, Portuguese, French, English, Russian, Spanish, German … we love them all! With each new language, a whole new world of possibility is opened for our children.
In today’s global, fast-moving society, being bilingual is especially important, valuable, and necessary, which is why we are such advocates of starting multiple languages with kids early in their lives.
While the benefits are truly endless, these are our top ten reasons to raise your children with multiple languages:
- Brain Benefits – Study after study has shown that bilingual and multilingual people tend to be better multitaskers, problem solvers, and creative thinkers. They are better able to focus their attention and retain information. It makes sense when you consider all the brain-stretching that has to happen to switch from language to language – there are a whole lot of neurons that have to fire up to make communication happen!
- Academic Advantage – Because the bilingual child’s brain has been trained to code switch and form all those problem-solving connections, they are primed and ready to excel in school. Bilingual children tend to be less distracted and more focused, often outperforming their monolingual peers.
- Future Career Opportunities – The job market loves bilingual employees! Language fluency is a huge asset in a variety of fields, from the medical field to journalism to hospitality to technology. When you can speak multiple languages, you become highly attractive to potential employers.
- Bilingual and Beyond – Once you have your second language under your belt, it becomes much easier to learn a third, fourth, or fifth language (or more!). Your brain has already done the hard work of forming those necessary cognitive connections, so subsequent languages tend to come much easier to the language learner.
- Empathy – Cognitive advantages aside, the social and emotional benefits are enormous. When a child grows up learning and hearing multiple languages, they become wired to expect and appreciate diversity. They gain empathy for people who are different than themselves, for people who are not native speakers, for those who are from different places. Rather than look down on someone for not speaking perfectly, bilingual children understand the struggle, because they have been there!
- Cultural Awareness – Bilingualism also encourages a deep appreciation and awareness of other cultures. Speaking multiple languages at home, reading bilingual books, and viewing bilingual films can open up new conversations about cultural traditions, holidays, fables, and more.
- Appreciation of History & Family Heritage – Many people choose to speak multiple languages in the home in order to maintain a connection to the family’s heritage. Some parents even choose to relearn (or learn for the first time) the language of their parents or grandparents, along with their children.
- Travel Smarts – Travel becomes so much easier when you have multiple languages to choose from! I remember being stuck in a Greek train station, unable to decide which direction to go. I overheard some French tourists and was able to access that language to ask for help. The more options you have, the better!
- Pride – The sense of pride children feel for being able to communicate, problem-solve, or even create “secret” languages between friends cannot be overstated. Children LOVE to feel special and knowing a whole other language certainly qualifies.
- Raising a New Generation – One of the biggest obstacles parents today face when trying to raise bilingual children is that they themselves only have one language or very limited second language ability. When you persevere, though, and make language learning a priority, you are setting up future generations for language success. Your children will be positioned to raise your grandkids with multiple languages.
The more we can bridge the gap between cultures and foster a culture of empathy, communication, and understanding, the better our world will be.
Don’t know where to begin? Start with a book! The simplest yet most effective advice parents hear is to read, read, read with our kids. Read often, read daily, read everything.
If you’re looking for a way to add languages to your child’s daily life, consider starting with a bilingual book. Check out all of the possibilities we have here at Tim Tim Tom → https://timtimtom.com/our-books/
A bilingual and personalized story that will spark your kid’s imagination and language ability.
You can customize the name and look of the child and choose two out of ten available languages.
TimTimTom – Playfully Reading and Learning Languages