6 Surprising ways it's better to grow up bilingual

Raising your children bilingual is one of the greatest decisions you can make as a parent. My parents did it with me and now I'm doing the same with my two kids. My reasons are a bit different than my parents', but in the end, it's all about the advantages of being bilingual, which are countless!

My daughter is 8 and she's finally starting to realize the power of bilingualism on her own--and nothing could make me happier! Check out a few of the advantages kids who grow up bilingual enjoy.

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1. They get to be translators/help others out. When my daughter entered kindergarten, she got to be the translator for a little boy who had just moved from Mexico and didn't speak any English. I believe the experience empowered her and made her realize how valuable and useful it can be to speak two languages. 

2. They're the cool kids who can do something others can't. Yeah, I know, most times being "different" is not cool when you're a kid, but I have a friend who's figured out how to turn her kids' bilingualism into something really cool. She's told her boys that they have a super power and they absolutely love the idea!

3. They get to be the best student when they study Spanish in school. When my son was in preschool, he would go to Spanish class once a week and guess what? Well, because Spanish is his first language, he got to be the teacher's helper and he thought that made him extra special.

4. They get to understand songs in their original language. Just the other day, we were listening to the radio in the car and Enrigue Iglesia's song "Bailando" came up. My daughter recognized it immediately because they heard it a lot this summer in Puerto Rico, but once she realized it was the English version, she proclaimed, "Mami, but it sounds so much better in Spanish!"

5. They can get monetary rewards. Last summer, I found out that Rosetta Stone was doing a study on children and bilingualism and they were looking for Spanish/English speaking kids. Although we had to drive from Denver to Boulder to get to their offices, it was an amazing experience for my daughter and she got a $25 gift card at the end for her participation.

6. They can use one language to understand words in the other language. This is one of my daughter's favorite advantages. She's come to realize that using cognates is one of the coolest things about being bilingual. 

Image via Corbis

Topics: bicultural baby  raising bilingual kids  bilingual children