The Best Parenting Move You Can Make For Your Child
The science is clear: when a child learns a second language, their cognitive function improves for life. Studies show that bilingual children and adults are better at multitasking, paying attention, and focusing than their counterparts. That shows up in concrete ways: higher SAT and ACT scores, better performance in math and English, increased musical aptitude and even improved empathy and emotional skills. Learning a second language while the brain is developing literally changes children's brains for the better – brain scans show bilingual people have more gray matter in the parts of their brain involved in executive function. 1 The benefits show up early, even in babies less than one-year-old. No wonder many researchers suggest that the best way to have smarter kids is to expose them to multiple languages when they are young.
The most critical age for language learning is 7-8 years old, and general wisdom is that while children of any age can learn, earlier is always better! 2 That's why Muzzy created a video language learning program specifically designed to be engaging for children. The series of animated cartoons founded by the BBC teaches many languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and Korean. The cartoons are fun and engaging, but they really work: just take it from the thousands of schools and libraries across the world that use Muzzy as a mainstay of their official curriculum. Parents can purchase Muzzy as an online subscription, which includes bonus materials like worksheets and has plans starting around $5 a month, or as a DVD set that comes to $168 for 6 DVDs that parents can keep for years and use with siblings of different ages.
The cognitive benefits of learning a second language just scratch the surface of how bilingual children get a head start in life. There are also plenty of social and cultural benefits to knowing a second language that kids can take advantage of as they enter adulthood – including the ability to travel and make genuine connections with people from different countries, and more, higher paying job opportunities. Recent reports reveal that being conversational in a second language can increase income by up to $5,000 a year. 3 Plus, colleges consider being bilingual a critical sign of cultural diversity and intelligent activity, two main factors admissions offices look for in addition to grades. So it's no wonder why more parents than ever are eager to expose their children to multiple languages.
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Parents are also finding surprising benefits from video language learning programs like Muzzy: guilt-free screen time. As technology advances, television, iPad, and even smartphone use are becoming normalized for children as young as 2 years old. But, that screen time can have a negative effect on children's brains, including slow reaction times, poor eyesight, and lethargy that many parents describe as "zombie-like." Because Muzzy teaches using animated stories with fun, colorful characters, kids can feel like they're watching TV or YouTube while actually absorbing all the benefits of a second language.
At a time when language learning programs in schools are lagging behind due to budget cuts or poor teacher management, programs like Muzzy, with online and video lessons made specifically for young learners, are stepping up to fill in the educational gaps and help kids get a leg up in life.