How Growing Up In A Bilingual Home Can Benefit Your Child’s Cognitive Skills

Ally Villar
·2-min read

It is no secret that speaking two languages may actually be beneficial for kids. Not only is it convenient and opens doors for them to communicate better with larger groups of people, but it may also improve their cognitive skills. Many subscribe to this idea, including journalist and celebrity mum-0f-three Diana Ser who encourages her kids to pick up a third language, even.

You might be hesitating thinking it’s too early for your little one to be learning a new language. But a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has found that maybe the earlier they learn, the better, for kids growing up in a bilingual home have shown cognitive benefits later in their lives.

Benefits Of Learning A Second Language

benefits of learning a second language
benefits of learning a second language

Image Source: iStock

Before you start to think your child will automatically pick up a second language, which is a common mistake among bilingual parents, it is still important to give them time to learn it like any other skill they have, so it’s best if they start early on. 

In fact, researchers found that people who grew up speaking two completely different languages can shift their attention between different tasks quicker than those who learned a second language later on in life.

Their findings showed that infants raised in bilingual homes got to adapt to a more varied and unpredictable language environment by shifting their visual attention faster and more frequently. They also suggest that these adaptations that infants acquire at an early age are maintained until adulthood.

“This adaptation may help them to take advantage of multiple sources of visual information, such as mouth movements, facial expressions and subtle gestures, ultimately helping them to learn multiple languages,” added researcher Dean D’Souza of Anglia Ruskin University in the UK as said on Gulf News.

What They Did To Get These Results

The study involved a total of 127 adults in two separate experiments. 

For the first experiment, researchers made participants watch pictures on a screen, which would gradually change while the other picture remained the same. Results showed that early bilingual adults managed to notice these changes faster than late bilinguals. 

In the second experiment, it was found that early bilinguals were also better at controlling their attention than late bilinguals as they were quicker at disengaging attention from one picture to shift their focus to another.

To put it shortly, researchers of the study wrote that early bilingual adults appeared to be faster at “disengaging attention and detecting the difference between two visual stimuli than late bilingual adults.”

ALSO READ:

Bilingualism and the Brain: How Learning a New Language Affects Your Child

How to raise children in a bilingual home using technology without impacting family time

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