The Benefits of Multilingualism for children


At Kidcrea Story, we are a team of multilingual individuals trying (our very best) to raise our multilingual kids.
Thinking about all the benefits of multilingualism
 is one of the main reasons why we put in a lot of work and effort into Kidcrea Story.
This multilingual platform is to help us on our journey.

Here’s a reminder:
We need to remember that raising multilingual kids is not a race, it’s instead a long marathon.

If you’re bilingual, you use two languages.
If you’re multilingual, you use more than two.

In today’s blog entry, we will talk a little bit on the benefits of what we are doing.
Why are we working so hard in helping our kids learn multiple languages?

We all have different reasons to explain this. For those of us coming from a diverse cultural background, we want them to be able to communicate with our family members in different languages. Or perhaps, we want them to have the ability to communicate in more than one language as a skill set for them in the future.

Before we go further, let us shed some light on the most commonly asked questions on multilingualism:

Does multilingualism cause confusion to a child?
“No, raising a child in a multilingual environment does not confuse them!”

Does teaching multiple languages cause speech delay?
The answer is no! This has been a long-standing myth.
But if you think that your child may have a speech delay please consult a specialist.

Do parents need to worry if their multilingual or bilingual children get mixed up in their languages?

The answer is no! This is a natural part of multilingual development.
Children will grow out of it as they grow older.

And now that we’ve answered these questions, let’s start our list of benefits and why we think, it’s a good reason to keep trying our very best in raising a multilingual kid.
It’s pretty obvious that multilingualism in itself is an advantage; even more-so now when we are just a click away from being in touch with anyone around the world.

For your child, the ability to communicate in more than one language is a key advantage to a better and more diverse career opportunity in the future.

Raising a kid in a multilingual family environment helps improve communication among family members, enhances emotional bonds making your cultural introduction to your child a little easier.

But of course there’s even more benefits.

  • Language and vocabulary

Multilingual kids do better in word reading and spelling because of their understanding of sounds and tenses. This gives them an advantage when they start learning other languages in class.

  • Brain exercise

Brain works like a muscle! And speaking more than one language is an exercise. The more you work out the better it gets!
In a multilingual child’s brain, both sides are always on alert and active even when they are speaking one language which enhances their cognitive abilities.

  • Better communication

Multilingual kids have a better sense of interpersonal understanding and listening that enables them to communicate better. Growing up in a multilingual environment helps you get used to listening to others perspectives and understanding them.

These findings provide evidence that early multilingual exposure influences communication skills: infants who regularly hear multiple languages have an advantage in understanding a speaker’s intended meaning.
Speaking multiple languages opens up a whole new world to benefit children’s social skills. Being able to communicate with people from different cultures is a confidence booster and an open minded experience. 

  • Better concentration

When a bilingual child tries to speak, both languages compete to be spoken in their minds. The child has to quickly pick and suppress the other and switch between them in a second.
This ability helps kids to focus better in a noisy class and mute all other irrelevant sounds.

  • Better memory

Bilingual children develop a better working memory –- which holds, processes and updates information over short periods of time.
Learning multiple languages means you have to retain a lot of information and be ready to produce it at will.

  • Arithmetic and problem-solving decision making

Multilingual kids have better mental alertness, which helps them to solve problems much easier. A study by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin, shows that bilinguals have an easier time dividing objects by shapes and colours than their monolingual peers.
Multilingual children tend to be better at problem-solving, as languages work as puzzles. Studies have shown that children who speak more than one language tend to be better at understanding maths concepts, and solving word problems.

  • Open-mindedness

Multilingual kids already understand differences as they are in an environment with two or multiple languages or cultures. Which helps kids being more adaptable and more tolerant towards differences.
More than being just open-minded, they can also adjust to the changes in the environment better.
Being exposed to multiple cultures through language enhances: cultural tolerance(understanding that different people have different ways of doing things) and tolerance of ambiguity (the way people approach new, unfamiliar situations).

At a young age, bilingual acquisition is as natural as learning how to walk or crawl. Kids who learn decoding skills in one language will easily translate to any language.

Childhood as the time of accent-free learning

Children and young adolescents are able to learn a new language without an accent. This is why children who grow up speaking two or more languages can fully master them like native speakers.

Protection against dementia

The scientist Ellen Bialystok examined people suffering from dementia and analysed whether there were any differences between monolingual and multilingual people with dementia. Her findings showed that those who had been multilingual their entire life on average developed symptoms four years later than patients that only spoke one language.
It is believed that multilingual people are often forced to battle the impulse not to say a word in the wrong language.

Multilingualism has been shown to have several social, psychological and career advantages. Moreover, recent studies show several health benefits such as faster recovery after a stroke and delayed onset of memory loss diseases.

Bilingual children learn other languages with greater ease throughout their lives, as being able to speak more than one language “wedges open” a window for future language learning.

Multicultural parenting may not be the easiest, but it comes with many benefits for the children. As we have seen, there are multiple benefits of being bilingual.

So keep up your journey, as we do.
Enjoy the process of the up and down road!
You are not alone as we are all on the same boat.