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Why Is It Important to Learn a Second Language?

Here’s the thing. Helping your child learn new skills enhances all aspects of their life.

With new skills (like a second language), they have better career opportunities and learn more about the history and culture of regions all over the world. Above all, it helps them become a better person as a whole.

Let’s understand a little better about why learning a second language is beneficial for your child and exactly what you can do to help your child learn.

Benefits of learning a second language as a child

second language
  1. Children’s minds are more open to learning new languages. We’ve all heard how children’s minds are like sponges when it comes to learning new languages. Research by the NCBI has reflected that humans have a “critical period” for learning new languages. During this critical period, their brain is primed to learn. Post-puberty, their ability and aptitude to catch a second language is reduced.
  2. Increases brainpower. Studies have shown that bilingual people are better at multi-tasking and focusing their attention than monolinguals. Research by Georgetown University Medical Center stated that brain scans of bilinguals showed more gray matter in regions that involved executive function. In fact, some researchers say that the best way to help kids become more intelligent is to expose them to multiple languages early in life.
  3. Increases cross-cultural understanding. Language and culture are very deeply intertwined. Therefore, when a child learns a second language, they gain a cultural awareness and a deeper insight into how people from that culture see the world. In fact, linguistic relativists say that the language we use shapes our perception of the world. According to research, the same person can have different reactions to the same question depending on the language they’re asked!
  4. Perfect chance to bond with your child. Learning a new language with your child is one of the best bonding experiences that can impact your life forever. From sharing a secret new language to understanding different cultural traditions together, it’s the perfect chance to bond with your child.

Let’s look at how you can help your child learn a second language.

How to help your child learn a second language?

benefits of learning a second language, mother and son learning together at home.

1.    Learn together

While you need to know math to teach your child arithmetics, that’s not the case with helping them learn a second language.

Here’s the thing.

Sure, it’ll be easier to teach your child a second language if you’ve mastered the basics; it isn’t always necessary. You can use this opportunity to master the basics with your child.

This is an excellent chance to spend some quality time together doing something productive and valuable.

We’ll let you in on a secret.

When your child sees you do something with pleasure, they will positively relate to the activity. This helps them develop a favorable attitude towards learning at a young age.

They are primed to maintain this attitude throughout their lives, which means you wouldn’t have to force them to study because of the strong sense of responsibility they’ll develop for learning from a young age.

2.    Play games in the second language

Children unconsciously learn a lot about the world through everyday activities. One of the best ways they learn and retain things is through games because play doesn’t seem like learning!

Learning languages through games is a proven way for children to learn a second language efficiently.

There are a plethora of games and activities online designed to help them learn a new language. Your child can try one new game every day and never get bored learning!

3.    Watch cartoons in the second language

Children love watching cartoons. You can take advantage of the shows they enjoy and help them learn the second language in a fun way, which doesn’t really seem like learning.

Furthermore, simply reading and writing will not help your child gain an overall grasp of the language. Listening and speaking are two other essential skills young children need to learn alongside reading and writing.

Watching cartoons is a brilliant way for kids to master speech through listening and repeating words and phrases. They relate these words with specific actions, which helps them pick things up more quickly.

4.    Sing rhymes and songs in the second language

The musical beat, the rhythmic sequences, and the repeated words of songs and rhymes are excellent ways for children to learn and remember new words. It’s fun to learn and often easier to remember than ordinary prose.

Children learn native pronunciations with songs and rhymes. Furthermore, rhymes are not just about the language you’re trying to learn. They often reflect the history and culture of the region, which adds another dimension to their learning.

You can usually find a version of their favorite rhymes in the second language. Simply find them on YouTube, and don’t be afraid to sing along with your child. They will probably have the song memorized by heart before you know it!

5.    Read children’s stories

Children’s books are the best way to give your child a strong foundation for a second language. They include simple words, fun stories, basic grammar, and language structure.

Inculcating a habit of reading books at an early age is also an excellent way to build another good habit that will last a lifetime. You can also find copies of stories your child already loves, like Winnie-the-Pooh or Harry Potter.

Final thoughts

What is better — to have a French teacher or teach French at home?

This is a very commonly asked question, and the answer is pretty obvious. Why not have both?

Your child can take French classes online and learn directly from a native speaker from the comfort of their home. Plus, it’s highly cost-effective!

The only thing you need to ensure is that the class should be designed for kids.

Bilingual bebe’s classes are designed for children based on their age groups and fluency. With no more than 5 children in one class, teachers give personalized attention to each child and ensure they have a lot of fun while learning alongside.

You can sign up for a free trial with Bilingual Bebe today!