The Truth About Childhood Language Learning: Why It’s Essential for Your Child

July 24, 2018 / by Megan Polom

k-8 child learning new language on tabletFor many families, a second language is simply another grade on their child’s report card. While it would be nice to know another language, it’s not that important, right? We’re going to go with wrong, and here’s why.

Many parents wonder if it’s necessary, or even advisable, to teach their young child another language. For some, it’s a hard decision to make — rumors and myths about childhood language learning abound. We’re here to sound the buzzer on some of the most common myths and separate fact from fiction. Keep reading to find out why language learning is not only advisable, but essential, for learner of any level.

Myth #1: Language learning detracts from other, more important subjects

Truth: Language learning supports success in other subjects. This is a common misconception for parents who don’t want to "overload" their children with another subject to study.

The truth is, language learning is like superfood for your brain. Feed your brain a new language (yum!), and it increases cognitive ability in areas like creativity, memory, and problem solving.

The stats don’t lie — introducing a second language at a young age directly correlates with both higher academic achievement and increased standardized test scores.

Myth #2: High school and college language courses are enough

Truth: Learning earlier means learning better.  Let’s face facts, your child is better at some things than you are. Tree climbing, frog catching, and chugging chocolate milk just to name a few — but did you know they beat you at language learning as well?

Research shows that when a child’s cognitive abilities are forming, everything they learn is absorbed in a much more natural way. That’s why we don’t have to try to learn our native language as infants; it just happens!

Not only can children internalize grammar rules that prove tougher for adults to learn, they are also more likely to master accurate pronunciation — an amazing confidence-building skill to have when they inevitably start studying another language in high school.

Myth #3: Language learning is unnecessary because everyone speaks English anyway

Truth: Being bilingual will offer your child better (and more varied) job prospects even if they never leave the country. No family plans to backpack across Asia? Not all that interested in French cuisine? That’s okay — you don’t need to have a case of wanderlust to factor language learning into your future. No matter what path your child takes, it’s a good time to be a polyglot.

Our world is more connected than ever before, meaning companies prefer candidates with multiple language skills over those that speak only one language. Less than a quarter of the world speaks English, after all.

Providing early exposure to language learning can mean access to a much wider variety of professional opportunities later on, both domestic and international. Or, they might just grow up to be our next linguist here at Mango Languages — the possibilities are truly endless!

Myth #4: Language skills are just a resume filler

Truth: Learning another language can make you a more well-rounded person. While being multilingual can definitely boost your resume, learning another language offers personal benefits that cannot be measured by comparing salaries.  

Multilingualism opens up possibilities that go far beyond holding a simple conversation. You can spend time in countries where your second (or third) language is spoken, form friendships with diverse groups of people, and have a chance to see things from different cultural perspectives.

The ability to see things from different viewpoints and a greater tolerance for other cultures are invaluable assets in our increasingly globalized society.

How Mango can help…

We at Mango are on a mission to bring language and culture to young lives and to encourage families to participate in the learning experience — that’s why we created our Family Profiles feature, which is great for your school-age child. From your own Personal Profile, you can track each family member's individual language journey. Try picking a language to learn together — not only will you get some quality time, but you’ll help each other improve your new language skills in the process. Don’t be surprised if your child teaches you a thing or two — it’s only natural!

Whether you’re a parent considering multilingual education for your child, or someone simply interested in the benefits of an early introduction to language, Mango Languages can get you started in over 70 world languages and over 20 ESL/ELL courses. Click below to start learning!

 

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Know a great strategy for implementing Mango’s Family Profiles at home? Let us know in the comments!

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Megan Polom

Written by Megan Polom

Fresh off an adventure of a lifetime teaching English in Busan, South Korea, Megan is our Junior Copywriter. A coffee and podcast addict, you can find her at the nearest cafe with a book in hand, or earbuds in and out for a hike. She is currently learning Korean and Spanish, and hopes to tackle French next.

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