5 Reasons to raise your kids bilingual

Bilingual kids1. I learned all of my languages as a teen or adult. As a result, I want my kids to have the gift of growing up bilingual, where speaking a second and third language is as natural as brushing teeth. Because they are learning new languages so young, they will also have the benefit of speaking many languages (in our case Arabic and Spanish) without a foreign accent too!

2. Being a multicultural family where my husband and I have different native languages, raising bilingual kids is also part necessity, as we want them to be able to communicate, laugh and joke with all sides of their family.

3. Learning another language opens your mind in new ways, both cognitive and social. Bilingual kids have been shown in research to be better at problem solving, staying focused and multi-tasking. Did you know being bilingual has also been shown to ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s? Bilingualism also gives you different perspectives. You realize there is more than one way to see the world.

4. I’ve ensured my kids will never in a thousand years think of supporting some of those creepy “English Only” ideas that have periods of heightened popularity in parts of the U.S. When you learn a new language you are more open to people from many different backgrounds. Want proof? Check out my trilingual Arabic-Spanish-English daughter singing in Korean, thanks to some of her Korean-American friends at kindergarten. A language you don’t understand ceases to be something intimidating or unnerving; it’s natural and part of the harmony of the world.

5. My kids will have many more opportunities, both professional and personal, because they are bilingual. Bilingualism is one of the best bridges you can build to the rest of the world.

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Stephanie Meade is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent, an online magazine for parents raising little global citizens. After living in four countries and working in many others as an economist in international development, she can speak four languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese and English. She is passionate about all things related to language, especially raising bilingual children, as well as bringing up children with a global perspective. She is raising her own Moroccan-American daughters bilingual in Arabic and English at home while recently introducing Spanish. She always assumed she would speak Arabic by the time her oldest child was able to talk (which was four years ago now!) and she is finally making the time and effort to learn this year.

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