Raising kids in multilingual Europe is one experience that is not so easy for most parents especially during the early years of parenting. Despite the fact that your children will struggle a little and that additional effort will be required on your part as a parent; when they finally get the hang of the different languages being spoken within your European community, you will no doubt be the envy of most parents and feel proud whenever you watch them interact with people from different cultures. There is no better feeling than hearing your pre-school child count one to ten in more than one language, not to mention reciting poems and singing the rhymes in those languages too.
Raising kids in such a community has an array of benefits for the kids when they are growing up and also when they finally become adults. With the world becoming a different place every day, what determines if your child will have more opportunities in future and survive in different cultures is how you bring them up and what they are equipped with. With language being such a powerful tool, providing your child with an opportunity to learn several of them within a multilingual community is the best thing you could do for them as a parent.
Many would be quick to point out that the kid who is adopting many languages when growing up will have the disadvantage of mixing languages when expressing themselves, speaking later than they should and would require a lot more effort from parents to help them develop their social skills. The truth is there is no scientific proof to show that those claims are entirely true. Besides, the child will only have problems during their early years of life, but once they are approaching their teens and can speak, write and read fluently in various languages, the problems cease to exist. Also, most kids will not have a problem and will in fact enjoy adopting these new languages into their speech.
To see why parents should give a thought to raising their kids within a community that speaks various languages, further outlined below are ten good things about raising kids in multilingual Europe.
1. At Ease In Different Environments
As the kids grow up in a community with language variations, they will of course learn many languages since they are exposed to these languages in the different environments they encounter such as school, home, church, mosque, during playtime with their friends and so on. Learning the different languages will no doubt boost their self-esteem and create that much-needed natural adaptability and flexibility. They will also be more interactive since they will hardly feel left out when most of the languages are spoken in a certain environment. When such great confidence is instilled in a kid when they are young, it will definitely be valuable to them throughout their lives.
2. More Appreciation For Different Cultures.
Kids will better understand cultural differences and accept them since they are exposed to different languages and cultures in a multilingual environment. By that they will become better human beings and will hardly show discrimination because they respect the difference in the cultures worldwide and understand that people from different backgrounds are all unique and special in their own ways. This quality will also come in handy later in their lives when they experience different cultures.
3. Increased Career Prospects
As they grow up in Europe learning and speaking different languages, kids are definitely getting a head start in a flourishing career early. With the increasingly competitive job markets, anyone speaking more than one international language stands out from the pack and is likely to be considered for an opportunity especially if it involves interaction with people from different nationalities. Note that the requirement for bilingual or multilingual abilities in persons is often the case in most sectors of employment. There are numerous opportunities for multilingual individuals in different sectors of employment both in and out of Europe; therefore, raising your kids in such an environment is no doubt a great way to prepare them for the great career prospects that will no doubt come their way once they reach that working age.
4. Science Says Good Things
Another good thing is that science has a lot to say about kids learning more than one language. Evidence from various scientific studies suggests that the chances of a kid in a multilingual environment becoming "smarter” are very high. Learning languages keeps the brain very active, stronger and more efficient. Also, such children are known to not only have increased metalinguistic awareness, but they also turn out to be more creative and find it a lot easier to learn even more languages once they reach adulthood. Every parent no doubt appreciates a smart kid.
5. Speaking The Native Language Becomes Special
As parents whose native language is not the same as the community language in Europe, you will always feel closer to your kids emotionally every time you speak your native language to them. The kids will also feel a sense of belonging every time they speak the native language to you. Whenever they need a kind word, comfort, rebuke, or a thumbs up for a certain achievement, speaking in your native language will have the best effect. If you want to get up-close and personal when addressing issues with your kids, the native tongue will be more effective especially if you often speak a lot of the other languages within your community. In the end it makes parenting in such a setup a lot more interesting.
6. Develops A Love Of Languages In Your Child
With everyone speaking different languages around your community and your kids adopting them, there are also chances of your child developing a love for languages later on in life. This is a positive thing for them since they are likely to take on what they love as a career and be valued as a member of the community.
7. Have Better Reading & Writing Skills Earlier
Kids adopting different languages have been known to also adopt better writing and reading skills at an earlier age compared to their monolingual counterparts. This becomes an advantage because they will hardly experience struggling in their academics.
8. Array Of Choices Of Countries For University Education
It gets even better when your kids want to go to university away from home. They can choose various countries thanks to the many languages they speak that are spoken in those countries. They can decide to go to Finland, Ireland, Poland, Germany, France and even out of the continent if they please as long as the language they speak is spoken in their country of choice. Besides, even if they choose a university in a country where they can’t speak the language, they can still go because they already have the great ability to quickly adopt new languages.
9. Makes For Interesting Parenting
Parenting is already fun, but it gets more fun when raising your kids within a multilingual setup. It makes parenting enjoyable, very challenging and gratifying. You will watch your child grow and learn and you heart will always swell with pride every time you hear them adopt different languages as if it is the most normal and common thing on earth. You will definitely never get used to the fact that your kids can jabber in English, Polish, German, Mexican, French and even Japanese for example. It will even get better when you see them writing perfectly in those languages and enjoying a book written in those languages.
10. You Will Never Ever Regret It
You will never regret your decision to raise your kids in a community where many languages are spoken. With all the benefits that come with such a rich exposure to foreign languages, you are definitely preparing your kids for success. The same way you will never regret raising them up in such an environment, that is the same way they will be appreciative of your efforts to encourage them to learn the foreign languages. It will actually be gratifying when as a parent you experience those many moments of serendipity and great excitement that happen every time your child feels the closed shutters of their mind and their own little world being flung wide open to reveal great wonders. Offering that great opportunity for your child to learn many languages will also allow you to experience along with them that unexplainable out-and-out thrill when they discover that it is not always just a new language, but a new world and that they are a part of it.
When your kids stand out at a job interview and are picked for the job; when they get noticed by that special boy or girl that they like because they happen to speak a certain language, when they help out someone who doesn’t understand a local language because they can speak the person’s language and when they do many other things that will positively impact their lives, they will always remember that they were raised within a multilingual European community. With the extra effort you put in giving them the best life within a multilingual European community your kids will definitely be grateful for the rest of their lives.