Does Learning a New Language Make Kids Smarter?
Do you want your child to be bilingual or multilingual? Smart choice! There are so many benefits to speaking two or more languages in today’s increasingly interconnected world.
For example, if your child is bilingual in English and French, they can:
- Study abroad in a French-speaking country
- Enjoy the richness of French literature, film, art, and culture
- Develop friendships with monolingual French-speaking children
- Communicate effortlessly with your family who only speak either French or English
Those are all fantastic benefits! Don’t you think?
But does learning a language make you smarter? Good question! It’s also quite common among parents of children enrolled in our online language classes for kids.
This article will give you all the answers you need! Here, we’ll look at the findings of several research studies on the cognitive benefits for children who speak two or more languages.
8 cognitive benefits for children who speak multiple languages according to scientific research
1. Improved executive functions
Research on the cognitive benefits of being bilingual shows that bilingual children have enhanced executive functions, such as inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility.
In other words, bilingualism significantly improves a child’s ability to intentionally control impulses, manage information in their mind, and seamlessly shift between tasks.
Improved inhibitory control allows your child to thrive in situations requiring patience, like taking turns or resisting impulsive decisions.
With enhanced working memory, they can effortlessly handle multi-step tasks, such as following complex instructions or excelling in math problem-solving.
Additionally, increased cognitive flexibility empowers your child to transition smoothly between subjects or activities, fostering adaptability in academic and extracurricular pursuits.
2. Superior language acquisition skills
Research (same report linked above) also shows that, compared to their monolingual counterparts, bilingual individuals showcase heightened metalinguistic awareness, enabling a more profound understanding of the intricacies of language.
But the cognitive benefits extend even further. Bilingualism gives children an additional advantage in effortlessly acquiring a third language.
This means that a bilingual child has a better chance of not only excelling in two languages but can seamlessly embrace a third, giving them even more advantages in our increasingly interconnected world.
3. Enhanced brain structure and neuroplasticity
Bilingualism also sparks profound neurological changes in children’s brains, influencing both structure and neuroplasticity.
Studies (same report linked above) show that acquiring a second language correlates with increased thickness in brain regions crucial for speech processing.
Neurologically enriched bilingual brains may offer advantages such as heightened cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills
4. Resilience against cognitive decline in adulthood
Research also shows that if your child speaks more than one language, they may have extra protection against cognitive decline as they grow older.
The cognitive advantages that show resistance to cognitive decline are notable in reading, verbal fluency, and general intelligence.
Importantly, the research shows these positive effects are not influenced by other factors like gender, socioeconomic status, or immigration status.
Early acquisition of a second language provides more benefits, while knowing three or more languages yields stronger effects than knowing two.
5. Defense against dementia onset in old age
Exciting findings from a comprehensive study reveal that bilingualism could also serve as a powerful defense against the onset of dementia.
The research, based on 648 dementia patients, 391 of whom were bilingual, found that bilingual individuals developed dementia 4.5 years later than their monolingual counterparts.
These research findings suggest that the cognitive benefits acquired during childhood bilingualism may offer long-term defense against dementia, ensuring your child has a healthy brain well into the future.
6. Easy adaptation to new tasks
In a study on infants, bilingual children outperformed those who spoke only one language when adapting to new tasks.
This research suggests that hearing and processing two languages from a young age equips a child with the mental toolkit necessary to navigate the complexities of learning.
As your child absorbs the linguistic nuances of multiple languages, they’re also learning how to transition seamlessly between different challenges.
This early advantage might pave the way for a strong and agile mind that easily adapts to new situations and problem-solving scenarios.
7. Stronger working memory
In a study by researchers at the University of Granada and the University of York in Toronto, bilingual children showed superior working memory to their monolingual peers.
Working memory refers to one’s ability to hold, process, and update information over short periods. It’s crucial for tasks like mental calculations and reading comprehension.
This research suggests that being bilingual can provide children advantages that extend to various academic activities, allowing them to better tackle complex instructions and excel in problem-solving.
8. Better creative thinking and problem-solving skills
Another study revealed that bilingual children outperform monolingual peers in problem-solving and creative thinking.
Researchers observed 121 children in Scotland and Sardinia, assessing their skills in linguistic, arithmetical, and physical tasks conducted in either English or Italian.
The results were clear — the 62 bilingual children demonstrated “significantly more success” in the assigned tasks due to being more mentally alert and flexible.
This advantage in successfully tackling diverse challenges implies that exposing children to multiple languages not only enhances their language skills but also sharpens their ability to adapt and think innovatively.
The wealth of research on bilingualism consistently highlights that learning a new language does, in fact, make kids smarter!
The advantages of raising bilingual children are multifaceted, from strengthening executive functions like working memory to enhancing language skills and even influencing neurological development.
If you’re eager to empower your child with the cognitive benefits of being bilingual, consider enrolling them in LingoCircle’s online language classes!
We offer online classes in French, Spanish, English, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic.
Why choose LingoCircle?
- Experienced teachers. LingoCircle has a team of experienced, passionate, and native-speaking teachers who specialize in online language teaching for children ages 3-15. Our educators also understand young learners’ unique needs and challenges, making the language-learning process engaging and effective.
- Interactive lessons. LingoCircle’s classes are interactive and dynamic. Our teachers use a variety of engaging activities, games, and multimedia to keep children excited about learning. The interactive nature of their lessons ensures that your child is actively involved in the learning process.
- A fun learning environment. Learning should be enjoyable, and that’s precisely what LingoCircle offers! Our classes create a fun and supportive environment where kids can thrive. With peers from around the world, your child will not only learn a new language but also experience the joy of connecting with others.
Want to see if online language classes are suitable for your child? Click here to get your first class for free!
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