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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Bilingual can Boost Children's Brain Power

By Andrew Loh

Language is a great communication tool ever known to humankind. Without languages, civilizations may cease to exist while learning different language will lead to proper understanding of global culture, customs and traditions. Children acquire language skills when they are infants. Children also acquire linguistic skills by speaking it and through creative mimicry. When children are in their infancy, their language skill acquisition is very simple and basic. However, it becomes very complex with each passing day and when children become adults. Amazingly, children are very adept at learning languages when they are four months old as they can easily read lip movements and learn to recognize simple, speech sounds.

Early language skills are very critical for the success of children. Language, learnt when young, could have amazing effects both on the academic and professional achievements. Learning one language can bring about huge changes in the attitude and intelligence level of a child. What happens when a child learn and speaks in two different languages? Certainly, it is a great advantage because speaking in two languages offers many practical benefits that help children succeed in a truly competitive world. Latest research findings suggest that being bilingual makes your children smarter, wiser and intelligent. Learning two languages may have extraordinary effect on your children's brain by enhancing cognitive skills those are unconnected to learning language. Some reports even suggest that learning two languages may decrease the likelihood of developing dementia in old ages.

Hitherto, academicians believed that being bilingual is not good for children because they thought that the second language actually obstructed the development of cognition apart from interfering with the normal intellectual development. However, recent research provides advanced information on the beneficial effects of learning two languages. The supposed “interference” as the earlier research suggested is actually a blessing in disguise for children. In fact, bilingual ability may force the brain to create an action plan that strengthens the cognitive processes. Scientists believe that children who can speak in different languages are adept at solving many types of complex puzzles and maze like challenges.

For a child to be intelligent and smart, the brain has to send instructions through a command center that is a complex hub of billions of activities. This complex hub is the precursor to many executive functions. These executive functions may include a series of attention processes that control planning, solving intricate problems or finish challenging tasks that involve mental planning and execution. Another important executive function that a child's brain could easily perform is the switching between two though processes like rejecting distracting situations to stay focused on a given task or to remember a sequence of events all the while performing other mental tasks.

There are many differences between a monolingual and multilingual child. In fact, a child that speaks two or more languages can easily monitor the ambiance and environment around him or her. In fact, this is similar to driving a motor vehicle. When a driver drives a vehicle, he or she has to perform many mental calculations to gauge the road, traffic coming from the opposite side, traffic that is behind the car, gauge distractions that occur on the roadside and to prevent any untoward incidences happening by monitoring the driving speed and by controlling speed, gear changing and clutch management. A bilingual child would be able to perform a series of mental tasks those are simultaneous and quick. In fact, these children always use lesser areas or sectors of brain to perform any mental tasks. Curiously, bilingual ability of the brain may postpone the onset of age related conditions like Alzheimer's symptom.

Different advantages and benefits of being a bilingual

  • Segregating words into different categories based on their meanings.

  • Use information in many different ways and meanings.

  • Easily playing word and scrabble games very easily.

  • Easily solving crossword puzzles when children grow older and step into higher grade schools.

  • Finding problems any problems very quickly.

  • Think laterally and perform simultaneous mental problems.

  • Easily develop personal relationship with others and connect with them without any problems.

Bilingual children always follow a particular pattern of learning which is systematic and organized. In fact, the rate at which a bilingual brain works is far superior to a child that just speaks one language. However, the biggest and most significant advantage of learning two languages is the ability of children to live anywhere in the world and confidence to lead a contended life. Continue to read Raising Bilingual Children - Boosting Brain Power with Language Training.


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