Does simultaneously learning two languages confuse your child? Typically, when children construct sentences with words from different languages, it’s a common belief to think that they’re confused with language systems. But this is a myth! From as young as four, your child learns to differentiate languages. And blending or mixing language rules is natural; a part of the bilingual language development process.
In fact, picking up a second language has been argued to be more manageable as a child. With their curious mind, the expressions and behaviours observed from those around your child rub off onto them. Your child imitates and learns most organically.
So, where does being bilingual mean for your child’s development?
1. Increases empathy towards other communicators
On the empathy scale, your bilingual child easily stands out from monolingual children. Studies have shown that bilingual children tend to be more sensitive towards the other person’s communication needs. What has been shared as a possible reason is this: your child understands the difficulty in speaking fluently, similar to his process in learning a foreign language.
2. Aids in enhancing personal cognitive ability
And bilingual learning doesn’t just aid in acquiring a new language. It also elevates your child’s cognitive ability! Fret not when you hear your child code-switching – it’s all part of the learning process and helps him to see through it. It is this crucial process that learners process the language systems simultaneously and become more fluent speakers in the end. Soon enough, you’ll find that your child has become an effective communicator in not just one, but two languages.
What are the best languages for children to pick up?
After deciding that a second and possibly third language would be a good idea for your child, you’re faced with the next dilemma. How do you choose a language for them, out of the seven thousand languages spoken today?
At the top of your list should be French, Mandarin, Spanish and German. Not only are they some of the most popular languages in the world, but they have persisted over time. As such, it’s likely that these languages will still be prevalent when your child matures into an adult!
Even with the countless benefits, learning a language doesn’t come without time and effort invested. So together with your child, pick a language that is both practical and of interest to them. For instance, if your child is going to learn Mandarin, seek help with Mandarin classes to ace the HSK Singapore test. Whether you’re looking for employment in Chinese or planning to work for a Chinese employer, a good test result proves that you’re proficient in the language and serious about taking on the role.
Finally, taking on a third language can be exciting. But at the same time, remember your child needs sufficient time to immerse, explore and enjoy each language. Once he is fluent in Mandarin, you can check if he wishes to start another language-adventure, perhaps in French, Spanish or German.
Learning a new language is never an easy feat, no matter how young you might be. And if you’re also new to the language, why not join in the fun! Take a look at our range of adult and kid courses that are sure to cater to you and your child’s learning abilities. When you take on the challenge together, speaking the second language at home makes both excellent practice and family bonding time.