10 Reasons why Kids Should Learn a Foreign Language Before the Age of 6
It has become the natural process of making decisions to start off by weighing the pros and cons to the decision that needs to be made.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? Or are the pros even reason enough for you to make the decision anyway?
So of course you went through the same process or you might be in the middle of that process right now, to decide if you should start teaching your kids a foreign language while they are still so young.
I’ve noticed that most parents tend to jump right to cons by thinking that their kids will get confused between their native language and the new foreign language or that their kids are simply too young.
First off, neither of those two things is actually true and to give you some more pros, here are 10 reasons why you actually should teach your kids a foreign language before the age of 6.
Higher brain function and development
The brain is just like any other muscle in the body, the more you exercise it, the more it will grow. This is even more vital for young kids under the age of six. If you start teaching your kids a foreign language at a young age, their brains will normalize the amount of exercise that it’s doing and will become accustomed to that amount of use and growth.
At that point their minds will function better and faster than those of children who did not learn a foreign language at a young age. This will truly be a big benefit for your kids, as you will also see how it relates directly to some of our other points that will be mentioned here after.
I will admit that when I first started teaching my kids a French at home, this was not exactly the first positive side effect that I thought of or really took into consideration, but it truly was a wonderful surprise.
Before we started, my daughter was a bit more on the shy side and didn’t have a lot of confidence in her abilities when it came to special skills or talents, even though she has quite a few.
After a few months of our French lessons, it was as if she had found a completely new sense of confidence in her abilities, which in turn made her perform even better in our lessons. When your kids learn a new language, it tends to open up their eyes to their own capabilities and skills, which gives them such a big confidence boost!
Decrease in non-native accents
When kids are still young, they often have the tendency to repeat whatever they hear, which helps them learn new vocabulary and speech patterns to be able to fluently communicate in their own language.
That is why it is the best possible time to teach your kids a foreign language, the younger they are, the better. When they start to practice these new words and sounds, they try to do it as close as possible to the original sound which makes it easier to make those sounds perfectly without having any kind of accent.
Once you start learning a new language at an older age, you already have set speech patterns and sounds that are required to speak your native language, that may not be similar to the sounds needed for the new language that you are learning, which causes an accent.
Better academic performance
So like you would have seen in one of our previous points, when kids learn another language, it increases their brain function, which would then logically speaking lead directly to better academic performance.
It is important to keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean your child will be performing at the top of their class in every subject, they will of course still have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to certain subjects, but they will overall perform better academically than their peers that didn’t learn a foreign language at a young age.
And if you keep reading, you will find that this point will snowball into even more pros.
Advanced reading skills
This might be one of the least expected positive side effects that occur when your kids learn a new language at a young age. Because they have been exposed to so many new words and sounds when learning a foreign language, they have learned to adapt and have to use more of their mental capacity to decipher which language it is that they are hearing or reading.
So once they are given a text or book that is written in their native language, their brain views it as an easy task and can identify the words a lot easier and quicker. This was truly a wonderful surprise to me.
It took me a few months after we started our language lessons at home to notice, but my son’s reading capabilities and speed had increased quite a lot. As an added bonus, my son started enjoying reading more, because he was able to do it with more ease.
Increased opportunities for college and careers
As you can probably tell by now, this is starting to look like the gift that just keeps giving, because one pro seems to simply role into another one. So now you know that your kids will be more likely to have better brain function, higher academic performance capabilities and advanced reading skills, but what will that mean for their futures?
Well I’m so glad you asked! Several colleges and companies have shown an appreciation for cultural advancement such as learning another language, and no longer simply rely on academic performance.
They like to think of it as finding candidates that are more balanced instead of only being focused on one aspect of their academic or professional careers.
So if you speak multiple languages, you are more likely to stand out in a crowd of other students that may have similar academic capabilities as yourself.
Opens up their minds to new cultures
Not all of these benefits will be academic of course and that is a very good thing, because it’s not all about academics. When kids get the opportunity to learn a foreign language, it makes them curious about other people, countries and cultures where this language is spoken. It opens up their minds to what life is like outside of their own daily lives and environments.
You will be surprised how happy it makes you as a parent to see how your kids get curious about other countries and cultures, when you can see right in front of you how their minds start to open up to the outside world.
Breaks down communication and cultural barriers
When you have been exposed to more than one language/ culture from a young age, you are more willing to try and understand the language, culture and mentality of others later on in life.
You become more empathetic and sympathetic towards others and it allows you to connect with more of the people who surround you. Even if you only like to look at the practical implications, it’s an amazing feeling when you get to interact with people from a different country and you actually have the capability to fully understand them and to communicate effortlessly without the use of apps or other people to translate for you.
If you have the opportunity to go to a different country, you will see the immense appreciation that the locals show when they see that you have made the effort of learning their native language, even if it’s only enough for basic communication skills.
Prevents cognitive decline
Now this is where you really think about the long haul, the end game or the long term benefits, which there are plenty of. The beauty of teaching your kids another language and increasing their brain function from such a young age, is that you have helped them to enhance their mental capacity which will keep their mental function at a higher level for longer.
The best time to expose your children’s minds to a new language to increase their cognitive abilities is before the age of 6.
This is when their brains are the most absorbent and can show the most growth. So basically this will help them to avoid cognitive decline later in life, as well as less time needed to spend on Sudoku and word puzzles.
Better performance in their native language
This might not seem like the most logical outcome, to teach your kids a foreign language and then having the result be that they have better performance in their native language, but it’s true! This usually happens when there are certain words in the new language that the translation of isn’t used frequently in their native language, so they have to learn these new words in order to fully understand the meaning of these words in the foreign language.
As a result, it increases their vocabulary of both their native language, as well as that of the foreign language.
Once you start doing a little bit of research, it’s shocking to see how many myths there are floating around that most parents believed, that made them second guess the idea of teaching their kids a foreign language.
It’s only after doing some digging, speaking to a few parents who have already started teaching their kids a new language and looking at all the facts, that they realize what an amazing idea it actually is. What makes it even better is that this is an opportunity for you as a family to take part in this adventure together.
As you can see there is no short supply of benefits for you and your kids, all you have to do now is get started, the sooner the better!
✨ Psst... When you're ready, here are a few ways I can help you get started with teaching your kids a foreign language at home...
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