Parents who pick a second language for their children have various reasons to do so. It often comes down to two main areas: practical benefits and emotional benefits. Bilingual children almost universally make positive achievements which would please most parents, enabling these children to better engage with the world.
Their brains are more richly-fed thinking engines
According to experts, having two languages or more frees children from the constraints of a single language, hence enabling them to see that ideas, concepts, meaning and thoughts are separate from language itself. Those children tend to have an extra breadth of understanding and to be more creative and imaginative in their thinking across all areas. Research evidence reveals that bilingual children tend to show superior performance in school. This brain power can even delay people getting neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life.
They have can very often go beyond the ordinary limits of employability
Being able to speak two or more languages certainly allows one much better employability. A bilingual child may be more sensitive in communication as a benefit of switching languages in different contexts. This may make the bilingual more conscious about effective and empathic communication. And being parents means we are more or less already aware of the importance of communication in the workplace and its benefit to social life.
Having fewer language barriers also makes travel easier and more fun, in that it opens doors to a more immersive and authentic experience.
They possess healthy social perceptions we desire
Valuable research conducted by social psychologists in a school proves that bilingual children have much more cross-cultural understanding and empathy which leads to being more openminded. Children of three groups were asked to select some photos of children who looked like smart children who might have many friends, children who they wanted to be friends with. The monolingual English-speaking children in group one would 10% of the time choose a photo of Latino children. Group three comprised of Spanish-speaking Latino students, chose pictures of Latino children for positive traits 40% of the time.
The group of English-only classes with Spanish-speaking Latino students only made 12 or 13% of the time. Shared language thus played an important role in the mechanism helping children identify with individuals in other ethnic groups.
In an increasingly globalised world, there are still many people facing division and isolation. In the pursuits of encouraging our children to build a balanced outlook, teaching them a foreign language is an excellent start.