How to Raise a Multilingual Child
It's easier for young children to learn another language. According to a study by Patricia Kuhl, Co-Director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, the critical period for language learning is until seven. And what you do to nurture your child's linguistic gift during this period is crucial.
Multilingual individuals reap a lot of benefits in their social life and career. And interestingly, learning foreign languages is beneficial for your child's overall brain development. It develops cognitive flexibility, which makes your child more creative when solving problems.
Studies that involve brain imaging techniques show a difference in neurological processing in multilingual compared to monolinguals. Multilingual individuals tend to have a higher density of gray matter in their brains, indicating that the cognitive control required to manage multiple languages impacts neurological function and structure, fine-tuning cognitive control mechanisms and sensory processes.
Have your child spend time with a native speaker or a tutor
If you are not familiar with the language, you can have your child spend some time learning the tongue with a native speaker or a tutor. In another study led by Kuhl, nine-month-old children were exposed to Mandarin in different forms. One group had 12 sessions—totaling five hours—interacting with native speakers while another group watched videos and listened to audio clips.
The researchers found that the first group had the same phonetic recognition of Mandarin sounds as infants raised in Taiwan. Meanwhile, the group exposed to the language through video or audio did not make significant language gains.
The researchers hypothesize that the gains were because interacting with a person gave the children social cues that held their attention in a way that the audio or video clips did not.
Find relevant media
Immerse your child in different media forms that can help familiarize the language, such as listening to music, watching a show, or reading their favorite stories in a foreign language.
Use kid-friendly language-learning software
There are a lot of programs that help young learners immerse themselves in another language. You can check out Gus on the Go, Little Pim, Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds, Kids Learn Mandarin, and Duolingo.
Teach through repetition
Children learn through repetition and active engagement. You can help your child learn a foreign language this way by doing an activity in a language your child is already familiar with and then doing the same exercise in a foreign language a few days later.
Another way to nurture your children's linguistic gifts is to give them a daily glass of PROMIL® FOUR, which has scientifically proven nutrients that support your child's proper growth and mental development to help nurture the gift.