The Benefits of Raising a Bilingual Child

In an increasingly interconnected world, where diversity is celebrated now more than ever, bilingualism has become a main topic in many family households. Some parents have even made raising a bilingual child a top priority. There are many benefits to raising a bilingual child, including cognitive and social benefits. Here are just a few:

Positive Effects on the Brain

According to pediatrician Dr. Gwendolyn Delaney, when an additional language is introduced before age 5, there is a more pronounced effect on the development of greater tissue density in the areas of the brain related to language, memory, and attention. Many research studies, such as the one funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), show that bilingual children can also multi-task better than monolingual children. Other studies have found that children as young as seven months have displayed that they are able to adjust better to changes in the environment when they are exposed to more than one language.

Social and Cultural Opportunities

Being bilingual can provide children with plenty of opportunities to meet new people, and open many doors in their lives. Bilingualism also gives children the chance to interact with people from other cultures, which is especially beneficial when traveling. By knowing the local language of the place your family visits, your children can truly immerse themselves in the language and culture of that place, making them appreciate the trip even more.

Long-Term Health Benefits

There is growing evidence that proves being bilingual can delay the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some other studies suggest that bilinguals are at a lower risk of having a stroke, and may recover faster after having one. Some research even links bilingualism to lower stress levels.

Educational Advantages

Being bilingual at a young age can give a child advantages in school. Studies have shown that bilingual students tend to be less distracted and more focused on tasks. According to the recent Millenium Cohort Study as referenced in Bilingual Kidspot, “children who are educated in their second language may initially lag behind around three, four and five years old, [but] they soon catch up and outperform their peers by age seven.”

Job Opportunities

Even though your child is still very young now, you want the best future for them when they grow up. Being bilingual can open up a world of job opportunities for your child when they finally enter the workforce. Many employers consider bilingualism a high priority. Since communication in the workplace is so important, your child could have a better chance of getting the job by being bilingual, even if the monolingual applicant is more qualified. In a competitive job market, being bilingual is an additional advantage that can help candidates stand out.

The Cranium Difference

At Cranium Academy, we recognize the benefits of teaching young children a foreign language. Our curriculum introduces children to several languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language (ASL). Our language programs take children on virtual journeys throughout the world. In our language classes, children learn about famous places and how children can use the powerful tool of language to live, learn, and play within various cultures.

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

There’s no time like summertime to brush up on your child’s reading skills. If there’s one thing you want to avoid, it’s “summer setback” or the loss of comprehension skills after a long summer vacation without reading. As parents, you want your child to be prepared for the upcoming school year so it’s important to keep them reading throughout the summer. Here are some tips on how you can keep your kids cracking open those books:

Go to the library.

  • Making frequent trips to the library is a good way to get your child involved in the reading process. By getting your child her own library card, you will spark her interest in going to the library to check out books and other reading materials.
    • Have your child make a list. Before hitting the library, encourage your child to make a list of whatever books he wants to read. Summer should be a time for kids to enjoy the reading and have as much fun with it as possible.
    • Explore tech options. Although visiting libraries may seem outdated, many of them now offer many technology options, such as E-books, audio books, and GPS navigation apps to help students quickly find materials within the library.
    • See if your local library offers a summer reading program. Most libraries have programs in the summer for children that include events like puppet shows and presentations from storybook authors. Others may host book clubs for kids of all ages. Programs like these are a great way to get your child excited about reading.

Make reading fun.

  • Read aloud. Kids love interactive reading sessions. Reading out loud can help them sharpen their fluency and comprehension while increasing their vocabulary.
  • Find reading spots. If your child gets bored easily, it may be a good idea to switch up their reading spots regularly. You can try reading with them in the backyard, on the front porch, or in a park.
  • Connect books to summer experiences. If you go somewhere on vacation, choose some books that have a similar setting. If you take them to a special place, choose some books that have related materials, like stories that have a lot of animals if you went to the zoo. When a child is able to connect what they read in a book with the places that they go and the things that they see in real life, they will most likely have more meaningful experiences.
  • Create a reader-friendly environment. Make sure you have a lot of reading materials lying throughout your house. It could be anything from newspapers and magazines to brochures and pamphlets. The more access they have to these materials, the more opportunities they have to pick them up and start reading.
  • Download digital reading tools. If your child prefers to read digitally, don’t discourage him. Find apps that he can use to read and support his interests. Some of these apps even include games that improve reading comprehension.

Get involved.

  • Set an example. Your kids look up to you as role models and if they see that you make reading a priority in your life, they will most likely want to make it an important part of theirs too.
  • Communicate. Ask questions about the books they read. Who is their favorite character? Why do you think the character did that? What did you like about the story? What didn’t you like about it? This will get your children to think critically.

At Cranium Academy, we make it our goal to inspire each child to think both critically and creatively. We believe that one of the best ways to achieve this goal is through the power of reading. We stress the importance of reading not just because it supports a child’s cognitive development, but also because it can broaden your child’s understanding of the world.