Many adults—particularly in the U.S., where learning a second language isn’t nearly as common as it is in the rest of the world—are concerned that children will be disadvantaged or confused if they try to juggle two vocabularies. Others worry that kids won’t learn to speak as quickly as their peers. The good news is, most of these misconceptions are just that: misconceptions. Language learning is widely acknowledged to be highly beneficial for children’s cognitive and social development, with benefits that last a lifetime. Here, we’ve broken down some of the myths and facts to ease concerns that parents may have, and to get back to the fun part of learning!
As parents, our motivation for wanting our kids to learn a foreign language is justified. Research shows it improves brain functioning, leads to higher scores on standardized tests, builds empathy, deepens multi-cultural understanding and improves employment opportunities. Not to mention, if your family speaks another language, having your children learn the language can deepen family connections.
The challenge for parents is that in our enthusiasm for language learning, we might inadvertently tiger-mom (or dad) our way into making kids hate the process – and what a missed opportunity that would be!