Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids
Almost every parent wants to expose their children to different cultures and languages. With today’s society putting pressure on students in the United States to increase their awareness of the world, more and more parents are insisting that their children learn another language other than English at an early age.
There are many benefits to knowing more than one language. Various studies show that exposure to foreign languages between the ages of three and fifteen increases children’s ability to learn. Early reading, improved problem solving skills, and even higher scores on the SATs are some of the benefits from knowing another language. Another benefit of bilingualism is that in a home where English isn’t the first spoken language, your child will be able to communicate with you and be able to communicate comfortably with older family members who speak the native language. Children who speak two languages comfortably have increased opportunities when they grow older such as employment once they leave school.
Methods for teaching two languages to young children can vary depending on how serious you are. If you really want your child to be speaking the language constantly, then experts recommend parents to look into language immersion schools. Language immersion schools foster bilingualism in young children and are the best way for kids to learn different languages. Other ways to introduce second languages to your young ones are by starting to speak to them in the second language at birth or as soon as possible. The younger the child, the easier it is for them to pick up and learn the language. Speak the language constantly at home if you and your spouse can both fluently communicate in it. Patience is a big factor when you are teaching your child to speak a different language. Some kids may take longer to begin speaking, but they will catch up. Being positive and confident while speaking the second language will ensure that your child will also be positive and confident. Children are shaped by their parents’ attitudes so make sure you are constantly supportive and positive. Lastly, be creative with your teaching styles! Read books, watch video, set up pen-pals, playgroups, and after-school programs! And if possible, travel to regions where the second language is spoken for a fun getaway for the whole family!