Bilingual parenting offers us many advantages, and apparently raising the smarter kids on the block is one of them, researchers found. Moreover, acquiring another language is no longer frowned upon in the United States (at least not by everyone). A recent study from the Cognitive Development Lab at York University found particular benefits of bilingualism for cognitive development in children between the ages of 4 and 8. Basically what this means is that bilingual parenting equals smarter children.
As a mom who is raising bilingual, I am pleased to know that the benefits of learning more than one language early in life go beyond just being able to communicate with family and friends. If you ask me, that right there is the most important reason why I chose to teach my children Spanish; I strongly believe it provides children with a better sense of belonging and stronger family bonds that ultimately are going to help me as a parent raising in a culture other than my own.
That being said, I must confess that when my daughter was born almost six years ago I couldn’t possibly imagine all of the tools I was providing her with by simply sticking to my intuition that this was the best gift I could give her. Turns out, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Because by implementing bilingual parenting I am indeed making them smarter, better thinkers and ultimately more prepared to succeed in life.
The research studies analyzed the effect that being bilingual has on the development of cognitive skills and showed that “bilingual children have more advanced ability to solve problems in which there is misleading perceptual information than comparable monolingual children who are otherwise at about the same developmental stage,” a summary of the research explains. Basically, kids who are the same age and have the same level of development whose only difference is the knowledge of a second language perform at a higher level.
The summary also explains that these processing advantages were demonstrated for different types of problems including both verbal and nonverbal. This is yet another reason why bilingual parenting is crucial to help our children thrive not only as multicultural people who appreciate their roots but also as sophisticated thinkers who can be high achievers in fields like STEM in which the need for talent is only increasing.
Do you believe in bilingual parenting? Are you raising bilingual?