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By Laura Grace Tarpley

Benefits of speaking dual languages at home

Parenting means constantly questioning yourself.

Are you teaching your kids to be the best they can be? Are they prepared socially, academically, professionally? Will you have a good relationship as they grow older? Are you making the right decisions?

Many parents wonder if they should speak dual languages at home. If you and your spouse speak different languages, this is a particularly prevalent topic of conversation in your marriage.

For those of you asking yourself this question, here are some considerations:

  1. Family connections

    If you are German and your spouse is American, don’t be shy about raising your children to speak both German and English! Your kids will share something special with you if you introduce them to this huge part of your life.

    If your parents or siblings don’t speak English as proficiently as you do, your children now have a way to communicate with their extended family. They form stronger emotional bonds and get in touch with their own culture. [i] There is something deeply gratifying about watching your daughter become close with her grandmother.

  2. Higher test scores

    Studies show that bilingual children score higher on verbal sections of tests than monolingual children. Languages are more similar to one another than you may think. If American children learn to speak French, this second languages also improves their English vocabulary. [ii]

    Surprisingly, bilingual kids test better in the math portion of tests, as well. This performance may be attributed to bilingual people’s stronger reasoning skills. [ii]

    If your children perform well on the SAT and ACT, they may earn more scholarships to colleges and have more opportunities academically.

  3. Professional preparation

    It’s never too early to consider your kids’ futures. Granted, English is the most commonly spoken language in business worldwide. However, multilingual people have a leg up in interviews.

    Let’s say your kids never want to move abroad for business. Don’t be deterred! Remember that Spanish is America’s second language and growing in popularity by the day. By learning Mandarin, French or Arabic, professionals can communicate with leaders if they work for international companies from within the United States. [iii] Such companies include Marriott, Google and even McDonald’s. [iv]

    Bilingualism is a vital skill. Employers see this ability on an applicant’s résumé and recognize their potential.

  4. Cultural sensitivity
    Learning another language helps your child succeed. But people’s hearts are just as important as their heads. If you want your children to be open-minded and accepting of others, teach them a second language. Early in life, they learn to empathize with people of other cultures.

    This trait molds them into more mature adults, as well. They learn to be loving in more areas of life. Not only are they accepting of people who speak other languages, but also of people with different interests, backgrounds and socioeconomic upbringings.

[i] Centeno, O. (2016). Why Raise a Bilingual Child? 4 Powerful Benefits.

[ii] Bilingual Benefits. (n.d.).

[iii] Top 10 important languages to learn. (2014, August 23).

[iv] 25 Best Global Companies to Work For. (2011, October 28).

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