6 Foreign Languages Kids Should Learn

By Linda DiProperzio

The younger your children are, the better it is to introduce them to a foreign language. Discover the top languages your kids should learn.

Author Linda DiProperzio describes the increasing trend in exposing children to foreign language, and the life long benefits people have from knowing a foreign language.

A growing number of parents are enrolling their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in foreign-language classes — and the numbers are expected to rise. “The popularity of such shows as Dora the Explorer, which teaches Spanish, and Ni Hao Kai-lan, which teaches Mandarin Chinese, suggests that parents want to be more proactive in jump-starting foreign language education for their children,” says Yani A. Peyton, a bilingual mother of twins and the director of Fun with Foreign Language (funwithforeignlanguage.com) in Bel Air, MD. This should come as no surprise, since numerous studies show that speaking a second language boosts cognitive, memory, and listening skills.

In fact, research published in Psychological Science suggests that simply thinking in a foreign language helps people make quicker and better life decisions. Furthermore, a study by the College Entrance Examination Board reports a direct correlation between foreign language study and high SAT scores. People who speak a foreign language often enjoy better career prospects and higher standards of living. And there are even health benefits — recent research from the University of Chicago suggests that a second language also helps prevent dementia later in life.

The article cites Caryn Antonini of Early Lingo for advise on when to start learning.

Experts say that kids should begin to learn a foreign language from a young age; the younger, the better. “A child is born with the ability to learn any language in the world,” explains Caryn Antonini, creator of Early Lingo (earlylingo.com). “The older the child gets, certain windows close in terms of language acquisition, but so long as the child learns the language before puberty [age 12 or 13], the child should be able to speak with a native accent.” If you can’t afford lessons right now, books, CDs, and DVDs in your language of choice can be effective. “Children can still learn from a parent who is not fluent. The important aspect is that the parent is available to learn alongside the child and interact. Fluency is not necessary,” says Andrew Finan, who runs a language blog (languagepie.wordpress.com) and who invented KLOO (kloogame.com), a game that uses color cards to form sentences and help kids learn words in different languages.



If you are deciding which language to teach your child this is an excellent article discussing the individual merits of 6 languages. To view this article in its complete version, please visit Parents.com original article “6 Foreign Languages Kids Should Learn” by Linda DiProperzio.