Written by Jana Angeles
Your baby’s brain starts to develop from the moment they are born. It’s important as parents that we learn to nurture that and what better way to start than to speak to them in a different language. It’s true that once they become older and start to learn more things, their cognitive processes in their brain start to develop even more when they learn about themselves, their family and what it means to have a cultural background.
Although it may feel silly talking to your baby in a different language, there are some benefits to starting early as their brains begin to absorb everything you say to them. Your baby has a lot to learn over the years, but the rewards of learning a different language will gradually develop. Here are some reasons why it’s beneficial to start speaking in a different language to your baby:
It contributes to their brain development
As mentioned before, speaking in a different language can benefit the brain development of your baby. Experts suggest that teaching your child another language at a young age helps them retain it better. Even though your baby may not understand what you’re talking about, get into the habit of speaking to them in a different language; you would have noticed that they gained some listening skills in the language. Furthermore, it also activates several areas of language activation in the brain, which can benefit their brain development.
It will help them be culturally aware of others
In the past, there was a stigma for people to be speaking in a different language other than English. Now, it’s a different time and people have learnt to appreciate the global culture. With the opportunity to travel, stay abroad for a year or foreign exchange in a different country, it will benefit your baby to learn a different language since it forms as an added skill set that will reward them in life.
When your baby grows older, they will be more aware about the diversity of cultures that exist and that everybody’s backgrounds are different. In addition to that, it helps shape their perspective on life outside of their birth country and can channel that curiosity to travel and appreciate the cultures that exist today.
They will feel connected to their heritage when they are older
Speaking to your baby now can help them feel connected to their heritage once they grow older. This means that it’s an opportunity to feel closer to where they came from and will bring a deeper connection with their relatives who came from the place of that language.
Having the ability to speak different languages when your baby grows older will not only provide them with travel opportunities, but it gives them a chance to better understand their family history and show an appreciation of where they came from. It will also gives them the chance to have a large exposure to a variety of speech patterns, which can be very useful as they grow older.
It can improve their academic performance in the future
Did you know that learning a foreign language can help your baby improve their academic performance in the future? Since it reinforces the core subject areas of reading, social studies, English literacy and maths, children who know more than one language can achieve high results in academics. Speaking in a different language benefits them when it comes to their brain development, so it makes sense why they are most likely to perform well academically.
Overall, your baby has a lot of growing left to do but that doesn’t mean you should stop speaking to them in a different language just because you feel they’re too young to understand. Learning a language apart from English can give them plenty of opportunities in the future that will enrich their learning experiences and have a broader understanding of the world. They will also form important interpersonal relationships and be better connected when it comes to their families and the country they originate from. Just remember to start early as your baby’s brain is like a sponge; ready to learn something new everyday!