How Learning Languages Can Benefit Young Brains

Bilingual Kids

Being bilingual looks great on a resume these days. If you are proficient in more than one language, you become more marketable as an employee and more doors open up for you depending on what business you are looking to go into once you enter the job market. This is often the pitch given to parents and prospective foreign language students in American schools, but this sort of education is provided much later on than in many other parts of the world. For that reason, many American children fail to completely attain any useful level proficiency within the language they study (unless personally motivated), unlike children from elsewhere in the world. Teaching children multiple languages from the get-go is much more likely to make an impact and really stick. Not only that, but learning languages early on also yields a broad range of cognitive benefits that can help children as they grow and develop.

Children in other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia, begin learning a second language at the pre-k or kindergarten level, sometimes adding on a third or fourth language later on. The American school system, however, does not tend to implement or even introduce foreign language education until sixth or seventh grade when children are already twelve or thirteen. By this time, a child’s brain is less impressionable in terms of language, and studying another tongue can be increasingly difficult if introduced after puberty. While many schools in America do not offer language classes as part of their curriculum until the middle grades, that does not mean that you have to wait to teach your child a new language.

If you want to teach your child a new language, you can begin teaching them from the moment they are born if you want to, but you can wait until they are in pre-k or kindergarten as well. If you or your child’s other parent happen to be bilingual you can be beneficial, however, you can ask others for help such as family members or friends and you can even employ children’s books and programs that they can listen to and take part in as they learn to communicate by using language.

There have been many studies conducted on the effects that languages have on children. Results have proven that kids who learn more than one language tend to do better in a variety of subjects including reading and science, perform better on standardized tests and exhibit more advanced problem-solving and spatial abilities. Additionally, some other studies have shown that learning a second language can help prevent senility and extend your lifespan as well. The reason why it is better for children to begin learning a new language when they are younger versus adolescence or even young adulthood is because they are much more likely to gain proficiency.

There are plenty of ways that you can incorporate multiple languages into a child’s life, and if they learn more than one language while they are first learning to speak, they are more likely to grasp the rules of the language much more naturally as well as be able to pronounce letters and sounds not found in English. Even if you only speak English, you can take this as an opportunity to learn a new language alongside your child. Who knows, they may be able to teach you a thing or two themselves!

For more parenting resources please be sure to follow our KD Novelties Blog.  We also have personalized children’s books in Spanish so please be sure to contact us at KD Novelties for more information.

Snow Day! No School! What to Do?

Snowy days can certainly be exciting. While kids may be tempted to enjoy the outdoors, there is usually a time limit before toes get too cold. There are plenty of fun, cozy things to do inside on a snowy day to keep any child (or adult for that matter) thoroughly entertained.
Reading in an indoor fort

1.  Build a Fort. This is a rainy or snow day mainstay. Building a fort can be loads of fun and many of the other things that you can do on a cozy day in the house can also be enjoyed from within the fort, so why not make it first on your list? Gather your pillows, cushions, extra blankets and guest linens into the most lavish and/or most comfortable concoction you and your child can dream up. Light it up with some glowy lamps, night-lights, or strings of Christmas lights you haven’t quite gotten around to putting away yet.

2.     Read a Book. Once you’ve built your fort, you are ready to go. Reading is a great activity for snow days. Whether kids are reading to themselves, reading aloud or everyone is sharing in the experience of a well-told story, reading is a great activity. Books can help transport your imaginations to all of the places the snow is keeping you from getting to. Read a book to unlock your child’s imagination and see where it leads.

3.     Act out a Book. Once you have read a book or two, acting out the stories and characters can be a great way to keep a good story going. Bring the adventure to life by play-acting the characters read from the story.  Reenact the events of the story or create your very own sequel! Let imagination run wild.

4.     Play Games. Whether you break out the board games or create a round of charades centered on the characters and events from the books you read, playing games is a great way to pass the time on a snow day. These activities allow for meaningful family time while also allowing for maximum fun as well.

5.     Make a Family Dinner. With everyone home, get the whole family involved in making a collective dinner, even the little ones. Kids are more likely to try new foods if they have a hand in preparing and cooking it so this is a great way to try out new recipes while making some memories. It is also a great way to top off a cozy day spent indoors.

Keeping Kids Enthusiastic About Learning

School is back in full swing. The first few weeks of school are usually pretty straightforward. Everything is still new, kids are still getting used to their new teachers, new classmates, new friends, new classrooms, or maybe even new schools and overall schedules. No matter what your little student is going through, there can come a time when kids grow bored or frustrated with school. This usually occurs after the first month or so of school, when homework and learning really kick in and begin to become a real part of children’s lives. There are some ways to keep your kids happy and focused during the school year, keeping them excited and enthusiastic about learning and school.
1.     Ask them about their day. Asking kids about what they do at school, making sure to ask for specifics, can really encourage them to pay more attention during the school day. Talking and having conversations with kids as if they are adults gives them a sense of importance, and this in turn helps them believe that what they do at school has significance; not just for them but for you as well. Being able to partake in grown-up conversations can keep them interested in their studies especially when they get to share what they learn with their parents.
2.     Read with them. Reading a book with your child and making it a regular thing can be extremely helpful. If they have a book to read for school, have them read it to you and ask them questions about the book or the chapters read that day. Making an activity out of a task can make it something for kids to look forward to, and if you ask them questions, they can better develop their critical thinking skills as well.
Kids Reading
3.     Create activities based around what they are learning in school. Scheduling trips to the Natural History museum when kids are learning about wildlife or planning a trip to see the Liberty Bell when they learn about US history can be beneficial to learning. Kids can understand that learning does not just happen in the classroom and encourages them to learn from the world around them. 
4.     Ask kids to write or draw about their day. Have your kids keep a journal. Ask them to write about what they learned, what happened in school or to tell a story in words or pictures. This will not only help improve their memory, but also improves their skills when it comes to thinking complexly. The ability to draw an idea or write a story about something they learned can help kids learn to understand complex ideas in different ways. A journal will also make a great memory when they get older. Encourage them to share their entries with the whole family as well.

5.     Remember to be supportive. If a child is expressing difficulty with school, whether academically or socially, listen to them completely. Helping them find a solution and overcoming it together can help drastically improve their attitude and their learning experience. Some kids have a harder time adjusting or staying focused than others, but sometimes all it takes is a different approach to help get them back on the right track.
Visit KD Novelties for unique personalized books that will get kids excited about reading and learning.