Are you looking for a way to help your child build their self-confidence, expand their cultural understanding and give them an advantage in the future? Teaching them a second language may be just what you’re looking for.
Did you know that in the UK, more than a third (36%) of adults speak more than one language fluently? Cardiff has one of the highest populations of bilingual speakers (21.5%), whereas London takes the top spot with nearly half (49.5%) of its population being bilingual .
Bilingualism, the ability to speak more than one language fluently, has been shown to have numerous benefits on brain development, from improved problem-solving skills to increased cultural awareness.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of bilingualism and why introducing another language during early childhood is best.
Bilingual Brain Boost
Bilingualism has been shown to have a positive impact on brain development. When you learn and use two or more languages, it can improve mental abilities such as problem-solving, decision-making, and multitasking.
Bilinguals tend to remember things much better and are able to easily switch between tasks. Researchers have also found that bilingualism can help delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease by several years!
Learning a new language can be challenging but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, the older you become, the more difficult it is to become fluent in another language.
It, therefore, makes sense that teaching children another language at a young age will give them the best opportunity to become fluent in that language.
Older studies showed that introducing other languages was best done before the age of 7. However, more recent studies show that children can learn another language efficiently up to the age of 18. But ideally, another language should be introduced to the child before the age of 10. 
It goes without saying, the younger the child is at learning another language, the better.
Language, Culture and Connections
Bilingualism can have a significant impact on your child’s cultural understanding and connections with others.
Being able to speak more than one language, you gain a deeper insight into different cultures and different ways of life. This knowledge helps to understand and communicate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, breaking down language barriers and growing meaningful connections.
Overall, bilingualism promotes understanding, empathy, and connection between people from all walks of life.
Bilingualism can also be a source of pride and identity, particularly for individuals who come from multilingual backgrounds. Being able to speak to someone in your home language instantly puts you at ease and more comfortable in your surroundings.
Future Pathway Opportunities
Did you know that being bilingual can open up a world of opportunities for your child?
Learning another language, especially at a young age, can have a significant impact on education, career prospects, and even travel experiences. In today's globalised world, being able to communicate effectively in more than one language is becoming increasingly important.
Studies have shown that bilingual children tend to perform better in school than monolingual students. Bilingual individuals also have an advantage when it comes to job opportunities as many employers seek people who are fluent in multiple languages.
And let's not forget travel! Being able to speak the local language when travelling can make a huge difference in your overall experience. So, whether learning a new language is simply for fun or to enhance future opportunities, the benefits of bilingualism can open up the world to children, now and in the future.
Support and Encourage Bilingual Speakers
If you want to raise bilingual children, there are several ways we can support and encourage bilingualism.
First, start early. Children’s brains are most receptive to learning another language before the age of 10, so it’s important to expose them to both languages as early as possible. At Lucky Beans Childcare, we provide children with Spanish lessons on a weekly basis.
Second, be consistent. Use both languages consistently and in different contexts. Mix and match where you speak each language, even the conversation itself can be a mix of both languages. This supports the ability to switch between both languages seamlessly.
Thirdly, provide plenty of opportunities for language practice, such as reading books, watching TV shows, and interacting with native speakers. Finally, be patient and persistent. Learning a second language takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it.