Thinking about raising bilingual kids? Don't pay attention to these myths!
Although according to recent statistics, 75 percent of the world's population speaks more than one language, the United States is one of the few countries in the world where speaking more than one language is not really encouraged. In other words, we live in a monolingual country and therefore are surrounded by myths about bilingualism.
So, if you're thinking about going against the norm and want to raise bilingual children, I want you to know you need not listen to these popular misconceptions about bilingualism you've probably heard before:
- Bilingualism causes delays in language development: There are no studies to prove this conclusively. Although some children who grow up with two languages take longer to speak, this does not last long. Usually, bilingual children are at the same level or more advanced than those who are monolingual, as far as language development is concerned. My almost 6 years daughter Vanessa is a perfect example of this. She's been talking non-stop since she was about 18 months old.
- If you don't raise bilingual children from birth, it's too late: It's never ever too late. It may be a bit more difficult if you start later, but not impossible. There's a common belief that there's a critical period for learning languages and that it is between birth and 3 years of age. According to some studies, though, this only means that after this age children have to work harder to become bilingual. So go ahead and start now!
- Instead of being bilingual your child will be so confused that he'll end up mixing his languages: Mixing languages is totally normal and temporary. This trend will go away as your child's vocabulary grows in both languages. Keep in mind is that if you mix both languages yourself, your child will think it's normal and do the same. So, you can not ask your child not to mix languages, if you do it all the time.
In the end, I recommend you do your own research so you can see for yourself the tremendous benefits of raising bilingual children!
Are you teaching your children Spanish? Have you ever heard any of these myths? Leave us a comment letting us know.
Image via Medellin.Digital/flickr