Why Is Learning a Second Language Easier for Kids?
Have you ever heard that kid’s brains are like sponges? They seem to just soak up everything they learn super quickly, in a way a lot of us adults would be jealous of! Their memory is like nothing else, and they can quickly latch onto information and retain it, making it the perfect time to teach them important skills they’ll need in life.
This is why, at One Third Stories, we believe the younger you start teaching your little one a language the better! That’s exactly why we make our language books for kids, so you can kick off their language learning journey as soon as possible.
But what is it that makes children so good at picking up a second language, and when is the perfect age to teach them?
It’s All About the Brain
When you’re younger, your brain is naturally geared towards language learning. You have to learn to speak to be able to communicate after all, so it makes sense that your brain will be evolved to help with this! This makes it much easier for kids to pick up a second language, learning both at the same time or one a little later, as their brains are already set up for the task.
There’s some real science behind this too. Don’t worry, we won’t go into it too much, we’re experts in language resources for kids, not biology! Basically, though, kids will use the deep motor area of their brain to learn a language, which is the area that’s responsible for unconscious actions. This means they really don’t have to try at all to pick up new language – it just kind of happens! Lucky, right?
The Best Time for Language Learning
There’s no real ‘bad’ time to learn a language. As long as you have a good set of resources for language learning, some time, and plenty of motivation, anyone can learn a second language no matter how old they are. But, if you’ve got a little one you’d love to be bilingual, it’s best to at least start them off before they hit 11.
Why 11? Well, after they reach this age, that deep motor area of the brain that’s responsible for easy language learning starts to not work so well. It stops growing so quickly, and picking up the complexities of a second language begins to get pretty tricky. It can be done, but if you can squeeze it in before 11 then do!
Confidence is Key
Whilst there’s plenty of actual neurological, brainy science behind why kids are better at picking up languages, there’s also the fact that they’re naturally more confident. Have you ever seen a kid do something that seems totally fearless? They’ll climb, jump, and fly through the air without a care in the world! It’s this kind of carefree attitude that lends a helping hand when it comes to picking up a second language.
You see, kids aren’t so afraid to mess up. Even if they’re not 100% certain, they’re going to give pronouncing words a go or try talking to someone in a language they’re not so comfortable with. They don’t have that crippling self-consciousness that holds a lot of older people back when it comes to speaking in a second language.
They also haven’t yet got those negative views on learning languages that seem to develop as we grow older. They don’t find them boring or useless – they just are. With the right resources, they can even be super fun!
Start Your Little One Off with the Right Language Resources
If you want to raise your child to be bilingual – and who doesn’t?! – then we’ve got a ton of great resources to send your way. First of all, definitely check out the BBC Languages pages; they’re packed full of great free activities and videos that you and your youngster can explore! We also love the Duolingo app, which is easy to use and keeps things fairly simple so both kids and adults can give it a go.
You should also check out our One Third Stories language learning books and subscription boxes! They’re designed specifically to help young kids learn a second language, using our completely unique method of introducing new vocabulary slowly, so your little one will start reading in English and end up understanding the story in French or Spanish! We also have a bunch of fun activities that go alongside our books, so you can make sure your child enjoys learning a new language. It’s so simple that we think every parent should give it a go!