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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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

Topics: hispanic children  multicultural kids  raising bilingual kids


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on Jun 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Great article. I'm raising my 2-year-old bilingual. And I hope to give him the opportunity to learn a third one, maybe Chinese--great culture, great market. Being bilingual has opened up a lot of doors for me, it's enriched my life and expanded my horizons and view of the world. I want my kid to enjoy the same benefits.
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on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Yeah I have heard the 1st myth, My husband wanted to have our baby speak English first and then learn Spanish, I laugh in his face because if anything she will speak Spanish first. Both my younger siblings speak both language perfect and staring to learn a 3rd one in school!!

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on Jun 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

I am trying to raise my kids bollingual buit they don't seem to care too much for Spanish.  On top of that my husband(who's first language is Spanish) speaks English to them.  I do blame him for making it worse for me.  I will keep trying.  My oldest understands, myu little ones says that he does not and the older one does not help with all the translation he does.  All my husband says is let's send them to Panama so they can learn with the other kids.  BUt what good is it if he does not talk to them in Spanish.

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