Bilingual Children: Advantages And Disadvantages

Surely you have considered at some point that your little ones receive a bilingual education, especially in English. But, what advantages and disadvantages does this have for the little ones? In this article we explain it to you.

The importance of language and bilingualism

Language is one of the innate characteristics of the human being, although it entails a long and laborious learning that each baby faces from birth.

Accompanied by speech, facial expressions, the tone with which the voice is used, etc., it is a very effective instrument with which to convey ideas and thoughts.

In the event that the child is in a bilingual environment, the baby’s learning difficulty increases , since there are characteristics that differentiate the process with which languages ​​are assimilated, differentiating the development of the bilingual child from that of the monolingual one.

In general, bilingual environments vary a lot from one to another: from the fact that one language is spoken at home and another outside until both languages ​​coexist and are used interchangeably in all environments.

Simultaneous or sequential bilingualism

Simultaneous bilingualism

The child is immersed in both languages ​​at the same time, or the second language is introduced before the age of three. In this case, the development of language is quite similar to that of the monolingual child, although he may begin to speak somewhat later – within normal parameters. From the beginning they understand that they master two languages ​​and can differentiate them without problem, adapting the use of one or the other depending on the interlocutor .

Sequential bilingualism

The second language begins to be acquired once the three-year-old limit is exceeded, once the first language has been well established. In this case, there are some characteristics of its own for language development, which will have these phases:

  • First phase: When exposing the second language, it is possible that the child does not communicate in it for a while: he must internalize and understand it; and once you use it, it is likely that you will accompany it with gestures to make yourself understood in a better way. This can last up to several months, depending on the child.
  • Second phase: The child will begin to use short or imitative phrases that he has heard or memorized. Little by little he will introduce his own phrases, more spontaneous, while gaining confidence and fluency in speech. It is very normal to comment on grammatical errors for a time, especially if the languages ​​do not have a common base (as would be the case with Latin languages), influencing the second language with the mother tongue.

Advantages of bilingualism

Today, with the globalization and interconnectedness of the planet in which we find ourselves, having the advantage of using several languages opens the doors to many cultural and work opportunities.

Children who grow up with several languages ​​at the same time, especially if they have been introduced before the age of three, will understand the world in a more enriching way and this will affect their understanding of even non-linguistic topics, causing the child to focus on the tasks of greatest relevance and ignore unimportant stimuli more easily.

It has also been seen that being bilingual makes the cerebral cortex more voluminous and with a greater number of connections , increasing memory in old age. In addition, although being bilingual does not protect as such from degenerative brain diseases, it facilitates their diagnosis.

Disadvantages of bilingualism

Although the advantages outweigh more, it is also true that with bilingualism come some disadvantages. Here are some of them:

Smaller vocabulary

The bilingual can handle about 40,000 words of each language, while the monolingual can get to know about 60,000 of their own language. They also have a harder time conjuring up the exact word they’re looking for when switching from one language to another.


When expressing the thought, the bilingual becomes more tired, since both languages ​​inhibit the other, tiring the speaker more when it comes to expressing himself.

Conclusion on bilingualism

In general, being bilingual has many more advantages than disadvantages, being especially a support in the future career and development of the baby who has been raised in this way.

Have you ever considered giving your little ones a bilingual education? Is there someone among you who has a native partner of another language who can tell us about the learning process of their little one? Share your experience!

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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