Okay, so you’re probably thinking: “Two languages? Isn’t one extra language more than enough?” But if you can help your child to learn two languages they will have a lot to thank you for it later. You see, nowadays if you want your child to reach their maximum potential in a multilingual society, learning at least two foreign languages should be at the top of any parent’s to-do list.
When is the best time for language learning? The best time is usually during the last years of High School, when their brain is better equipped to absorb languages. One extra language is pretty great, but two is even better! Here’s why you should give your child this linguistic head start in life:
It’s been proven that children who learn multiple languages have the ability to multitask. Their brain expands and develops, allowing them to categorize things better and making them more capable of handling more tasks at the same time. This means that they can adapt better to unexpected situations and even show increased cognitive flexibility compared to monolinguist children.
This may seem like a no-brainer. But if your child wants to travel, work or study abroad, speaking three languages will open so many more doors. Not only will they be able to communicate with people from other countries, but they can actually study at a higher education facility or work in a multinational headquarter.
Access to multiple cultures
There’s so much to learn in this wide world of ours and not least of the most fascinating things is culture. Learning new languages means that your child will learn about new cultures. This will increase their emotional and cultural intelligence and ability to work with all different people from all over the globe. As the world becomes more diverse, this is a particularly important skill to have.
Children solve problems better
Experts at the International Journal of Bilingualism, say that bilingual children are more creative and better at problem resolution. Their brain will be structured better when learning new languages and the best time is the early years before college.
Learning is easier the younger you are
It’s easier for children to learn languages when their brains are still developing and they soak up information like a sponge. For this reason, starting to learn several languages at a phase of life when retention is higher should be your primary focus for your child.
Open doors in your child’s career
Learning multiple languages will open many doors as far as careers are concerned. Whether your child chooses to travel or live abroad, or work on home soil, knowing several languages will give them more options. They’ll be able to take a language related position, work in different countries, with different clients, or maybe even apply to the UN!
What’s the best combination?
Here’s what I consider to be the most useful combination of languages for your child to learn in 2017:
Despite recent moves from Donald Trump to remove Spanish content from the White House communications, the United States is the country with the second largest population with Spanish speakers after Mexico. Yet, learning Spanish is not a requirement in most schools! It is, however, an option almost in every high school, public or private.
Learning Spanish is a fantastic asset to any child’s resume and it’s a great place to start. Why? Well, with over one fifth of the population of the US made up of Latinos, it’s a language your kids will probably already have some familiarity with. On top of that, it shares the same alphabet as English and even some of the same words, derived from Latin. The pronunciation is also much easier than other languages, as it is phonetic.
It’s not hard to see why Mandarin Chinese makes the list. By far the most spoken language in the world, if your child can learn Mandarin, they’ll be on the top of every pile of resumes, everywhere they go. Mandarin is an invaluable language for business. As the Chinese economy looks set to exceed that of the United States, so will the need for Mandarin Chinese speakers.
It might be a hard language to learn – most Chinese people never learn to write Chinese correctly – but if your child can get a head start now, the world will literally be their oyster.
Spanish, Mandarin and English and they’ll be covered from east to west. Whichever languages you decide on, though, try to support them and help them develop a passion for languages early on. It’s important! Get language learning today!
Christina Comben writes for translation services specialists, Day Translations and is passionate about writing, traveling and continued education.
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