Two fish are swimming in the sea, one is from Holland, the other is from England. The English fish sees the Dutch fish, waves his fin, and says, “Hi!” The Dutch fish panics and says, “Where?! Where?!”
In Dutch the word haai, which sounds like “hi,” means “shark.”
For all you may know, your kid might be the smartest fish in the sea! That is, if you are a multicultural family or live in a multicultural environment. I mean that is the only possible reason that you may still not know that you have the smartest kid. Or even if you have felt it you feel you should be humble enough to not be vocal about it.
I am talking about Polyglots/bilingual/multilingual children and their families. The benefits of being able to speak more than one language is not just that you can speak more than one language, there are many that you may not know.
While in most countries, the emphasis on learning English is laid upon at a very early age, a lot of parents find it annoying or impeding when the child does not respond that well and is more comfortable speaking the native language. It may be so because of other influencing factors such as grandparents, house help, school environment etc. Well there is a good news for all of you who have struggled trying to teach your children a language out of bounds and out of natural comfort of speaking the native language.
Studies suggest that bilinguals outperform monolinguals on tasks testing executive functioning. Here are some benefits of being a bilingual:
THEY PAY FOCUSSED ATTENTION WITHOUT BEING DISTRACTED.
THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO MULTITASK
THEY ARE MORE EMPATHETIC
THEY ARE BETTER READERS AND HAVE BETTER COMPREHENSION SKILLS.
THEY HAVE FEWER BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS.
THEY ARE BETTER PROTECTED AGAINST ALZHIEMERS AND DEMENTIA
THEY HAVE A STRONGER MEMORY
While there are many researches and inferences on this topic, I am carving out just an outline to help you understand the importance of speaking many languages. Or at least two! The brain of a child right from the age of 0 months, starts getting stimulated by the environment that they live in. Studies suggest that even the presence of an older sibling can affect a child differently than the presence of a younger sibling. Children with older siblings tend to become more independent and whereas a new born may cause emotional upset and disruptive behaviour and feelings of jealousy to develop at an early age.
A sibling is just an element in the environment of a child. There are many more elements that can be discussed and the way they affect a child’s brain and development. But for now, lets get back to our topic. So a child’s brain is very flexible between the age of 0 -3. Hence they are uniquely suited to learn a second language. Although up until the age of 8, children have an advantage of a flexible brain, flexible ear and speech muscles, by a little extra effort and patience, you can give your child a life long gift of cognitive flexibility.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE TO YOUR CHILD
With the advancement of globalisation and better opportunities, many people shift their base to foreign countries for work. In this scenario it is inevitable to be monolingual. You can work your way around to teach your child two languages with the following approach.
ONE PERSON ONE LANGUAGE
This approach was first introduced by the French linguist Maurice Grammont in 1902. George Saunders wrote in his book ‘Bilingual children: from birth to teens’ that the one person one language approach “ensures that the children have regular exposure to and have to make use of each language. this method has also been linked to an early development of metalinguistic awareness. (source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org)
MINORITY LANGUAGE AT HOME (ML@H)
This is a relatively less popular but an effective approach. It implies that parents speak their native language at home and practice speaking their community or national language outside of home. Gradually the child learns to switch between the two and starts to understand the importance of both cultures. These children grow up to be more empathetic and respectful human beings.
How to teach a new language to your child
Again as being a part of a global community, it is a great skill to acquire more than one language which may work immensely in your favour in many ways. other than the benefits that we have mentioned above, being bilingual opens a plethora of opportunities in the work sector.
Here are a few ways that can be helpful to you:
If you already know the language that you want to teach your child, it will come naturally to you because you have already taught them how to speak and you can apply the same approach, that is,
Start as early as possible.
Start by having a basic conversation, like, say asseyez-vous instead of sit down, if you are teaching French.
Repetition is the key.
Use expressions and physical demonstrations While carrying out daily routines, insist on using the new language.
Here are some resources and links that will be helpful
It is popular and free of cost. It is a task and activity based learning program. http://duolingo
This is great for preschool and kindergarten children. They can improve their English language skills along with learning a new language at the same time.https://www.rosettastone.com/
Get instant access to all videos in 12 languages (30+ hours of content), the parent/teacher guide, printable lessons, and fun activities! Discover why millions of children love learning a new language with Little Pim. https://www.littlepim.com/
Penyo Pal provides amazing learning experiences by carefully adapting the latest advancements in pedagogy, cognitive science, and user-experience design.
Their first series of language learning apps won multiple awards, a 5-star rating and resulted in over 10,000,000 hours of learning from students around the world. https://www.penyopal.com/
LEARNING BY MINDSNACKS
An awarded game based app that boasts of providing games for your brain, their team has designed the perfect recipe of 1000 words and phrases, 50 real-world lessons, and a bunch of delicious games. Learning has never tasted so good, so they say! https://www.mindsnacks.com/
Parents can use this golden opportunity of a lockdown and empower their children with a skill they will thank you all their lives for.
LISTENING TO PODCASTS IS ALSO AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE. A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS: http://101 Series-innovative language http://The actual fluency podcast with Chris Broholm http://The Coffee Break Language Series fluentu LanguagePod101 duolingopodcast http://bilingual avenue http://Mango Languages
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