Many parents worry about raising a child in a bilingual home and that is unfortunate. Some professionals STILL recommend a monolingual home for a child who has a speech/language delay and that is an atrocity.
There are many benefits of being bilingual and I will share them all here.
For some reason, there is a still a strong (erroneous) belief circling around out there that speaking 2 languages can cause a speech/language delay. I'm here to tell you...THAT IS NOT TRUE!! END OF STORY!!
The most current research only shows many benefits of speaking more than one language.
For more bilingual tips click here: Raising a Bilingual Child.
Due to technology and the internet, our world is shrinking. Many cultures are mixing and many languages are spoken within the same country. It is always an asset to know another language when you apply for a job. Employers tend to hire bilingual employees since they can translate, travel easier, work with international companies...the list goes on!
A bilingual child may have relatives who speak a language other than his/her native language. Without knowing a second language, he/she would not be able to talk, laugh, and learn from them.
Also, there are many stories and songs that lose meaning in translation. A bilingual child has access to more culture which only makes life richer!
Research has shown that bilingual people may delay the onset or prevent Alzheimer's!
Also, continually having to access two languages, deciding which language is being spoken, and then accessing all the goodies of that language is a great exercise for the brain! Exercising the brain is a key component to keeping our mind's sharp.
Speaking a 3rd language has many bonuses. One being, that your child will be even better at the 9 other benefits listed here.
Also, your child can now converse with people who speak one of their 3 different languages! This has many cultural, travel, and work benefits.
A bilingual brain is better at hearing speech sounds and pitch. This can translate to improved auditory attention. Auditory attention is important for listening and learning.
Bilingual brains have to constantly decide which language is being spoken and then access words, grammar, and pronunciation in that language. Studies have actually shown a difference in the structure of a bilingual brain.
When a bilingual speaker talks or hears words, he/she has to inhibit one language and then use the other. This cognitive control has shown to help bilingual speakers be better at conflict management, even as young as toddlers!
People who speak more than one language have to constantly assess incoming information and then inhibit which information is not relevant. Also, they may have to switch between both languages. This requires cognitive control.
Research has shown that people who speak more than one language are better at using information in new ways.
Being able to categorize objects, words, and pictures is an important early language skill. It helps a child quickly learn and store new vocabulary. A child can relate new information with the old information which helps memory and learning too.
Bilingual children are generally better at categorization.