As you probably know, my daughter recently turned one. As a first time bilingual mom (Filipino and English), I found myself in a dilemma whether or not to talk to my child in English. I was afraid that she might get confused or find it hard to decipher sounds which may affect her learning. I have been reading to her in English since she was several months old but we usually talk to her in Filipino.
As it turns out, I shouldn’t stress about it too much. “Learning another language actually enhances a child’s overall verbal development,” says Roberta Michnick Golinkoff Ph.D., author of How Babies Talk.
I also found from several reliable educational sites that even though children of bilingual parents may experience a lag in their communication skills, this only lasts a short time. In the long run, these children assimilate the words and become better at both languages. Isn’t that amazing? This gives me confidence to continue interacting with her in both languages.
Everyone would agree that learning English as a second language has many advantages. From business to traveling, knowing how to communicate well in an international language affects our interactions in both our personal and work lives.
But did you know that according to recent research and recognized experts, learning another language early in life also has several benefits?
Yes, having our kids exposed to another language, even as early as 3 years old, can give them a head start.
Here are 3 great reasons why children should be introduced to a foreign language as early as possible:
1. Improved linguistics. Since the younger brain is more flexible and adaptable, kids can pick up sounds and mimic accents easier than older learners. I remember my friend telling me that her toddler could already say “mommy” with a British accent. At that time, they were living in London.
2. Cognitive benefits. Learning a foreign language also has positive effects on our mental abilities such as
- better problem solving skills
- more creativity
- better flexibility of mind
- enhanced memory
- better multi-tasking abilities
3. Academic edge. Studies suggest that kids learning an additional language score higher in standardized tests. Furthermore, since English is a common medium of instruction, children who have been exposed early on will have more confidence in recitation and group activities.
So, are you ready to let your kids enjoy and learn English?