It's been proven, being bilingual makes you smarter
As a huge proponent of bilingualism for all children, I've always known bilinguals are smarter, just like The New York Times aptly titled one of their articles yesterday. The brains of us bilinguals are much more flexible than those of our monolingual counterparts, improving our skills to acquire knowledge and understanding.
Not to mention that living in two languages makes it easier for us to multitask and increases our concentration because our brains are so used to constantly having to sort through our languages and, depending on who we're talking to, make sure we use the correct one in a fraction of a second. In other words, we are masters at focusing on what's relevant, while ignoring distractions.
Although my own reasons for raising bilingual children have more to do with issues of the heart such as making sure they have a connection to their extended family back in Peru and Puerto Rico as well as to their cultural heritage, having proof of the benefits of bilingualism doesn't hurt a bit. By the way, did you know that researchers have also found that bilingualism delays the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzeheimer's disease? I know, I think that's pretty cool, too!
Read more in ¿Qué más?: Teaching children Spanish should be a priority in our public schools
Unfortunately, while there's a lot of information out there proving the benefits of bilingualism, the misconceptions about it are still abundant. One of the most common ones, which l hear people say all the time, is that raising children with more than one language will only confuse them. Well, I'm here to tell you that this is just a myth and I have both my children to prove otherwise.
We only speak Spanish at home, so my bilingual children learned English in school. My 5-year-old daughter is not only excelling in kindergarten, but she's transferring the skills she's learning at school in English into Spanish at home. This means she's teaching herself how to read and write in Spanish using what she's been taught in English at school. Sounds like anything but confused to me!
What do you think about bilingualism? Are you raising bilingual children?
Imagen via mclib/flickr