THINKING ABOUT INTRODUCING A SECOND LANGUAGE TO YOUR CHILD? HERE ARE SOME REASONS WHY YOU DEFINITIVELY SHOULD.....
1. Better attention and focus.
Several studies have found that bilingual people are able to maintain attention and focus better than their monolingual counterparts. While the reason behind this continues to be studied one theory is that the constant switching back and forth between two languages trains the brain to focus better. Dr. Andrea Krott from the University of Birmingham in a 2016 study stated that "together with other evidence, our research suggests that the lifetime task of switching between languages appears to enhance the ability to maintain attention." For more information on this study you can go to this site-www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2016/09/bilinguals-attentional-control.aspx
2. Brain is more "open" to learning another language later in life
When a child is exposed to another language early in life, their brain develops an affinity for language acquisition that can help them learn that language later in life. Studies have found that children that were exposed to a language early are able to learn that language easier later in life compared to those who were never exposed to that language. The brain is "wired" differently in those that are exposed to another language, especially before 1 year of age.
3. Improved communication skills
Several studies have found that bilingual children display better communication skills even before their first birthday. One such study performed by Katherine Kinzler, associate professor of psychology at Cornell University, showed that children who were exposed to a second language had the ability to better understand another person’s perspective which they indicated is an important aspect of better communication. Furthermore, they indicated that being completely bilingual was not necessary to acquire this benefit from exposure to a second language.
4. Improved problem-solving skills
This is one of the most significant benefits of learning a second language as it can have a positive impact in several areas of a person's life. Tracey Chapelton from the British Council indicates that "studies have suggested that children learning an additional language tend to score better on standardized tests because learning languages develops listening, observation, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. These are transferable skills that are of life-long benefit, both personally and professionally. Encouraging in children a love of language at an early age prepares them well for school and for life".
5. Improved memory
Another benefit of being exposed to a second language early is improved memory. Studies have found that the area of the brain responsible for 'executive function' which controls basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. was more developed in babies exposed to more than one language.
6. Improved brain efficiency
Studies have demonstrated that life-long bilinguals develop improved "neural efficiency" in certain areas of the brain that are responsible for task-switching and other executive functions. One particular study suggested that "the benefits of lifelong bilingualism are based upon a shift in cognitive control processing from effortful to more automatic" (www.jneurosci.org/content/33/2/387.full). Basically, the brain becomes more efficient at processing certain information. Other studies have also found that this type of "training" for the brain helps slow down the negative effects that aging can have on the brain.
GO FOR IT!!!
Even if you are not able to speak Spanish at home your child can benefit from exposure to another language by other means such as CDs, videos, movies and toys.
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