Here I want to give you a brief overview of how you can expect your child to benefit from growing up with more than one language. If your child already speaks two or more languages, you might recognise some of the points listed below.

  • Research has shown that the ability to speak more than one language from childhood is likely to give the child a cognitive advantage over a monolingual child as it enables the child to understand and distinguish different concepts more readily. They are likely to progress faster academically, not just linguistically.
  • Bilingual children are likely to make faster progress in reading and writing.
  • They will find it easier to pick up a third, fourth, etc. language.
  • They will be able to communicate with the part of the family in the mom’s or dad’s home country, i.e. grandad, grandma, etc. who may already find it difficult not to be a consistent part of the child’s upbringing. A letter or video message from the grandchild can make a granny’s or grandad’s whole week.
  • It gives them the option to study or work in mom or dad’s home country and widen their horizon by getting to know life in a different country. This will also happen during visits in the country, when the child is more independent through being able to communicate without mam or dad as an interpreter.
  • It gives them the opportunity to access information, literature, TV programmes, etc. from another country without the need of censoring and translation.
  • It gives mom or dad the opportunity to share their favourite childhood books, cartoons, etc. with their child, which is really what every parent wants to do.
  • Nothing is more effective in giving them a true sense of their heritage and culture. Think of the literature, folk songs and folk tales that make your culture what it is and give your child access to it, too.

You might even have noticed your child benefitting in other ways than the ones listed here. Please stop by again for some advice on how to overcome the most common difficulties experienced by parents who are raising bilingual children.