Bilingual Kids: ​How to Choose the Right Second Language for Your Child to Learn by 30Seconds Mom

Bilingual Kids: ​How to Choose the Right Second Language for Your Child to Learn

Many parents know how valuable it can be for their children to learn a second language. Kids have the potential to develop excellent critical thinking skills, reasoning, memory and problem-solving skills. They also may enjoy better intercultural skills and enhanced communication.

These possible benefits can be enough for parents to consider language classes for their children. However, knowing which language to enroll them in can sometimes be a tough choice. You might find your decision much easier by considering these points:

1. Children's Language Programs Near You

If you’re unable to teach your child a second language yourself, you’ll likely need a reputable organization like World Kids School to help. It can be helpful if a language school offering language programs for children is nearby. The closer they are, the easier it might be to include this new activity in your regular routine and see genuine results.

2. Cultural Relevance

Some parents want to teach their children a second language so they can feel more connected to their heritage, culture and family roots. If your family is from a different country than the one you live in, it would make sense to help them learn the language most closely associated with it. When they learn your language, they may become more familiar with the surrounding culture and may even form closer bonds with their extended family.

3. Global Relevance

Some languages are nice to learn out of curiosity or passion, but they don’t necessarily have the most real-world language. If you want your children to learn a language they can use throughout their lives, consider their global relevance.

English is the most commonly spoken language, closely followed by Mandarin Chinese. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide speak Hindi, Spanish, French and Arabic. When there’s no cultural relevance to consider, global relevance can be an excellent way to narrow down your options.

4. Your Child's Interests

You might wish for your child to learn a second language, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for their input. Pay attention to any activities they participate in that might show passion for a particular place or culture. If your children show an active interest in a specific part of the world, they may be more interested in developing their language skills and getting to know that part of the world in greater detail.

5. Language Complexity 

Most anyone can learn a new language if they put in the effort. However, some languages are certainly more challenging than others regarding grammar, pronunciation and script. For example, Spanish can take an average of 24 to 30 weeks to learn, while Greek, Turkish and Hindi can take an average of 44 weeks. Japanese can take even longer, at around 88 weeks.

Think about your child’s abilities and age, and use their developmental stage as your guide. They might be more than ready to learn a complex language, or you might opt for a more straightforward language like Spanish, French, Danish or Italian.

As valuable as being bilingual can be, your approach might make all the difference to your children’s success. Consider the points above before choosing a second language for your child to learn.

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Elisa Schmitz
I love this! As the child of a Puerto Rican mother, I grew up speaking some Spanish. I tried to raise my kids bilingual, but found it very challenging when everyone else was speaking English. Love the idea of enrolling them in second-language classes!
Donna John
I wish I had learned a second language. Going to encourage my grandson to learn a second language. Great tips here!

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