When we compare bilingual and monolingual children, those exposed to bilingualism between the ages of 5 and 10 get better grades on exams. Learning a second language helps children be more attentive, avoid distractions and make better decisions.
However, before we present ideas on how to help children learn a second language, we want to share with parents the importance of encouraging children to learn a foreign language. Magnetic resonance imaging shows that activity in the pre-frontal cortex is much higher in bilingual children. And this translates into improved cognitive skills, self-regulation of emotions, memory, and analysis.
How to help children learn a second language:
- Encourage children to play and sing, read books, and watch educational programs and movies in both languages. If parents read this a few decades ago, it would make them wonder where to find all these resources. But today, many bilingual apps that combine learning with fun are available.
- Incentivize children to communicate in the target language with family members. Traveling to a country where the language is predominant is also beneficial.
- Create playgroups with bilingual children. There is no better language teacher than other children because, through play and friendship, they learn much faster.
- Be creative. As with everything related to education, the key is to make it fun. Encourage your child to make up stories and play in the other language. Playing and creating generates more vocabulary.
When can you start? According to experts, it is best to start from birth as it takes advantage of the brain’s plasticity. But even when they are older, between the ages of 2 and 7, their brain can process two languages without problems.
Remember that children are sponges and naturally learn quickly to imitate words and practice their pronunciation. Another advantage is that they are not prejudiced or embarrassed like adults. And above all, they are not afraid of making mistakes. Take advantage of all these benefits to cultivate a second language.
At ItalianLg, we focus on teaching Italian. So, if you’re interested in helping your child learn Italian, platforms with language tutors for children will be helpful. Click here to read more.