There is a plethora of reasons why raising a child to be bilingual can benefit them. For example, you may have a family or greater community that crosses cultures, or you may want your child to benefit from the many cognitive advantages of being bilingual. Whatever your reasoning, at Crossing Borders Preschool, we can support your decision to teach your child a second lesson through our bilingual daycare program. Our language immersion preschool helps your child fully steep themselves in a language, promoting quicker language acquisition. Here, we will dispel some common myths around raising bilingual children.
MYTH: Learning a second language overwhelms children, delaying their development in their native tongue.
If this were true, children raised in bilingual households would all have delayed speech. However, based on empirical research, this is not the case. One study by D. Kimbrough Oller, PhD found that bilingual children started babbling at the same time as children who only were exposed to one language. Bilingual children also spoke their first words at the same time, even if their second language was sign language. While bilingual children had smaller vocabularies in each individual language, when combined, bilingual children had at least the same size vocabulary as monolingual children. Another study found that there was no difference in age of first producing word combinations between bilingual and monolingual children. All this is to say, there is no evidence that children will be disadvantaged in their native tongue by learning a second language.
MYTH: Learning two languages at the same time will confuse your child.
Many people hesitate to teach their child a second language because they are concerned that it will confuse them. They fear that the languages will become jumbled in the child’s head, and they won’t know what language to speak to different people. However, the research suggests that this is not the case. In a 2002 study, babies babbled differently depending on whether they were interacting with their English-speaking parent or French-speaking parent. Additionally, older children in a similar study were able to switch between languages, depending on the language of the person to whom they were speaking. Another study found that in over 95 percent of cases, children are able to switch between languages without any error.
MYTH: Learning a second language will make things harder for children with learning disabilities.
There is a perception that children with learning disabilities are at greater risk of being overwhelmed by learning a new language. However, research shows that this is underestimating children with learning disabilities. One study showed that children with disabilities that make academics challenging did just as well as their peers in a French-English immersion program. In fact, these children often had higher levels of French comprehension than their peers without learning disabilities. Additionally, another study of children with specific language impairment (SLI) found that children who were bilingual showed no difference from their monolingual peers in terms of language performance. Finally, another study found that children with developmental disorders, such as down syndrome or autism, were just as proficient in their second language as their peers without developmental disorders.
Now that you know that there are no downsides to teaching your child a second language, you are ready to enroll them in our bilingual daycare. Contact Crossing Borders Preschool today for enrollment information.