Learning another language not only helps increase your child’s knowledge base, but could also help them perform better in other areas of academics, such as math.
In a study from Michigan State University, children enrolled in schools with bilingual education programs performed better on state math and reading tests than students enrolled in schools without such programs.
Speaking more than one language is a great boost to the cognitive process. Some previous studies have suggested that the brains of bilingual people operate differently, and these differences offer several mental health benefits.
1. You Become Smarter.
Speaking a foreign language improves the functionality of the brain by challenging it and increasing problem-solving abilities.
2. You Build Multi-Tasking Skills.
Multi-lingual people, especially children, are skilled at switching between two systems of speech, writing and structure. This “juggling” skill makes them good multi-taskers, says Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Penn State.
3. Your Memory Improves.
The brain functions better with “exercise.” Since learning a language involves memorizing rules and vocabulary, it helps strengthen brain structures. Bilinguals are better at everyday memory needs such as retaining to-do lists, names, and directions.
4. You Become More Perceptive.
Multi-lingual people are better at observing their surroundings and more adept at focusing on relevant information and editing out the irrelevant.
5. Your Decision-Making Skills Improve.
Bilinguals tend to make more rational decision, found a study from the University of Chicago.
6. You Improve Your English.
Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language, including grammar and sentence structure. These skills make you a more effective communicator.
7. Gives Kids a Head Start for College and Beyond.
Learning a second language in elementary school, middle school or high school gives kids a jump on the requirements for college. Plus, after college, they may have greater job opportunities with the knowledge of another language.
8. You May Stave off Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Past studies indicate that learning a second language can reduce the risk of cognitive decline as one gets older.
Michigan State University. Bilingual education has spillover effect. September 2013.
Penn State University: Juggling languages can build better brains. February 2011
University of Chicago: Bilingual people make better financial choices. April 2012.
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages