5 Reasons Why It Rocks to Grow Up Bilingual

5 Reasons Why It Rocks to Grow Up Bilingual

Are you raising your kids bilingual? They will thank you in the future!

Here’s why:

1. Bilinguals are smarter.

Studies show that bilingualism improves the brain’s executive function, which is responsible for planning, solving problems, and performing other mentally demanding tasks. Compared to monolinguals, bilinguals are better at ignoring distractions in order to stay focused, switching attention from one thing to another, and remembering information. In other words, bilinguals’ need for knowing how to switch back and forth between languages makes them better multitaskers, a skill highly valued in the job market.

2. Bilinguals make more money.

A study from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, found that bilingual employees earn 21% more than their monolingual colleagues. This holds true even when the use of another language is not a job requirement. Researchers believe this is because employers see people who can speak more than one language as having other marketable skills, such as good language ability, perseverance, and quality education.

3. Bilinguals are more understanding.

Raising your children bilingual will improve their chances of having healthy relationships as well as their job prospects. Researchers have found that children who have been exposed to two or more languages are better at understanding other people’s perspectives. This makes them more understanding and better communicators.

4. Bilinguals age better.

The benefits of bilingualism extend all the way to old age. A study done by the University of California, San Diego, found that people with higher degrees of bilingualism had later onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

5. Bilinguals have richer relationships with foreign family.

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing children interacting with grandparents, aunties, and uncles from overseas while using a heritage language. Teaching your kids the language of their ancestors will strengthen family bonds and give them a stronger sense of identity. Languages open the door to endless cultural opportunities. While monolinguals tend to be steeped in one culture and worldview, bilinguals have access to the customs, cuisine, literature, music, and cinema of multiple cultures.

So, next time your kids complain about having to speak a minority language with you, remind them of the 5 reasons why it rocks to grow up bilingual!

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Silvia is a Brazilian journalist, teacher, and mom. She grew up in Canada as a bilingual child, speaking only Portuguese at home and English everywhere else. Throughout her adult life, she has lived, studied and worked in both Brazil and Canada. Silvia thinks that bilingualism has opened so many doors for her and she wants the same for her children.