Should your kids learn SpanishPhoto Credits woodleywonderworks Spanish has about 400 million speakers worldwide. Adults, as well as children and teens, are now beginning to understand the benefits of speaking and learning Spanish. Learning a second language has its benefits. There are different institutions who have established the link of cognitive and personal development to second language learning. In fact, The New York Times reported in 2007 that learning different languages could delay dementia in elderly patients. But how early can children start learning another language? Before, parents would express concern about introducing another language. Their primary concern is that it could cause confusion and delay in the child’s development. However, recent studies showed that children, even toddlers, were able to develop stronger minds when learning second language. According to the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab’s (CLAL) research, there are no negative effects on a child if they learn a second language. Bilingual children are more attentive and focused compare with monolingual children. In a study conducted by Ellen Bialystok in 1997, four and five-year-old bilingual children show better understanding of symbolic representation in print than monolingual children. Younger children, according to studies, have greater ability to learn and acquire language. They learn easily compared with adults. Teens who have knowledge of foreign language show higher mean scores for their college applications according to the College Entrance Examination Board. Those who have knowledge of four or more years of another language would usually get higher scores on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T.). Children also developed better listening skills since it is important when learning proper pronunciation. With all these benefits, how do you start teaching your child another language? If you are planning to teach your kid Spanish at home, it would be best to talk to the child’s teacher first, if he or she is already going to school. The teacher may be able to recommend methods on how you can proceed with the lessons. They can even provide you some useful resources and materials. You could start by reading to them. Reading to children will help them get an idea about the new words and associate them with pictures, helping children to grasp the new meanings easily. You could read English and Spanish books alternately during week nights. Teaching children to speak another language could be boring especially if they would only be doing flashcard exercises and book reading. It could be monotonous and they may lose interest. You could start by making it interesting by playing interactive games. What’s great is that recently, there are children’s shows which enable children to learn languages. There are board and computer games which could cater to every child’s interest. Learning Spanish would help children become more sensitive to other culture and learn a lot from them. You could do it the other way around. To encourage children to learn Spanish, you could start by introducing them to different Spanish music and dances. You could even have a Spanish themed-meal at home or take them out to dinner and let them order their Spanish food.