While English has become one of the most spoken languages around the world, learning a foreign language opens many doors. It is extremely beneficial to teach children a foreign language from a young age to assure that they can have a future in which they can travel around the world and communicate with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. With a foreign language one can form cross-cultural friendships, have a boosted cross-cultural understanding but also benefit from broader career opportunities and exciting travel adventures. Teaching a child a foreign language no longer means sending them off to language classes but it can also be easily taught at home through reading and interactive games and videos.

It is always encouraged to begin teaching a child a foreign language from a young age as the younger the mind is, the easier it is to pick up the language. As a child starts getting older certain windows close in terms of language acquisition therefore learning a language before puberty will allow children to speak with a native accent. Knowing a foreign language is certainly an incredible skill to have especially when thinking ahead of the child’s future career. Career-wise it is in fact known that professionals who can communicate in a second or third language are always more desirable for the job. It has also been studied that thinking in a foreign language helps people make quicker and better decisions and can contribute to a higher standard of living.

There are many ways to teach children a foreign language and the very first place to begin is inside the child’s home. If the child’s parents speak two different languages a highly recommend approach is the One Person One Language method. With this method each parent consistently speaks a different language to the child, for example one parent will speak their native Spanish while the other speaks their native English. This method is highly effective in raising a bilingual child as there is a consistent exposure to two different languages. A few other ways to teach a child a foreign language is to have them read consistently in the foreign language. Watching videos that are 100% in the target language is also a great way to interactively learn. Language learning apps also provide a simple, effective and comprehensive system for learning languages at one’s own pace through interactive lessons, numerous courses and with the help of voice recognition. For example a child can easily learn French thanks to the combination of effective education methods and the use of apps like Babbel that are interactive and therefore very intuitive.

When deciding which foreign languages to teach your child it is important to think of their future and which languages might benefit them the most. Spanish for example is the second widest spoken language in the world, with over 300 million people speaking it every day. Spanish is therefore one of the most useful languages in the world for travel and business opportunities. Meanwhile, French is the most widely studied foreign language in the world, with 200 million speakers worldwide. French is also the official language of 29 countries and is the basis for many words in English such as “naïve” and “cinema”. Mandarin Chinese instead is spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, making it the most widely spoken language in the world. The Chinese have always interacted with hundreds of cultures and many nations today enjoy Chinese-specific cultural contributions in the areas of cuisine, commerce and the arts. As Mandarin Chinese is tonal, meaning that pitch is used to distinguish its lexical or grammatical meaning, the earlier a child begins to learn this language the easier it will be for them to pick up on the difference in tone.

Many parents have become more proactive in jump-starting foreign language education for their children knowing all the benefits a second or third language can bring for their children later on in life. Language learning has many benefits on the brain: in fact it is proven to boost cognitive, memory and listening skills and is therefore a wonderful way to stimulate a child’s brain while in its peak development.