Hola, Bonjour, Ni Hao: Advantages of Bilingual Children

Hola, Bonjour, Ni Hao: Advantages Of Bilingual Children

While many parents are concerned that exposure to a second language may confuse their children, research shows that the opposite is true. Children who have learned a second language benefit in many ways, which is why more schools are offering foreign languages for very young students. 

Cognitive Development

In order to be bilingual, children must exercise certain cognitive skills that will benefit them as they work their way through school. These skills will help them with higher level thinking skills that they will use in comprehension, problem solving and other important areas of education. Once they start taking language classes in school, children who have already learned a second language often excel.

Cultural Awareness

When children are learning to speak a foreign language, they are also learning more about another culture. This awareness helps them to relate better to other students and encourages them to be more accepting of the differences in cultures around the world.


Children who speak a second language often exhibit confidence in other subjects. They are more likely to be adept and self-regulated, which helps them to succeed in a variety of classes as they go through school.

University Placement

Bilingual children are often favored by universities for several reasons. Colleges prefer students who have a diverse education, including fluency in a foreign language. The children’s ability to speak a second language may make it possible for them to attend special programs that accept a limited number of participants. These students may also be more successful once they enter the business world because their ability to speak a second language will draw the attention of foreign companies.

How to Start

If you are interested in teaching your child a second language, then you have several options that will help you reach your goals. You may want to invest in some books, audio programs and videos that will teach your child the basics. Books and magazines are also helpful, and many Internet sites have games and lessons that will allow your child to practice his new language skills. Once your child has learned some of the fundamental words and phrases, you may want to hire a language tutor who will help him delve into the complexities of his new language.

Choosing a Language

If your child is older, then you may want to allow him to choose the language that he is interested in learning. If you have a younger child, then you may want to decide which language he will learn. Your decision may be based on your family history or cultural interests, or you may try to choose something that you think will benefit your child in the future. The most important thing is that your child enjoys learning the language and is eager to continue his lessons.

Even if you choose to wait until your child can enroll in language classes at school, he will still benefit from learning a second language. Whether he starts learning a foreign language at a young age or when he is school, it is important that you offer plenty of support along the way. Your involvement will ensure your child’s success so that he can benefit from speaking another language for years to come.


Trudy is a childcare expert who provides children with entertainment and intellectual stimulation. She works for The Growing Tree Academy in Houston, Texas.

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