Kids Who Speak German
Are More Successful
We live in a truly global community where the ability to speak more than one language offers more than just convenience when traveling. Businesses expand to create a worldwide presence. There is more competition for good college educations and jobs. People must use every advantage available to them to increase their earning power, and their staying power in the job market.
You can help your kids prepare for the future by encouraging an interest in global affairs, and in foreign language. If your kids are still pretty young now, by the time they graduate from college and get jobs, the world is going to be very different. Being able to speak German, a language that is important in economic and business arenas, is going to put them in excellent positions to build rewarding and lucrative careers. But German language lessons can also help your kids in other ways. Here's how:
Kids Who Study German Early Learn More Quickly
As children grow, their brains develop, building memories and learning new things. Until the age of about ten, a child's brain forms new synapses very quickly and easily, which means they're better able to learn new skills and retain more information. This is especially true of learning a language. The earlier your child begins to study German, the faster she'll pick it up, and the longer she'll retain it. In fact, if you start early enough, your child can easily learn one, two or even more languages in addition to her native language.
And, your child can acquire the skills to learn more quickly without a tremendous amount of effort. Think about the way your child learned English, or whatever your native language is. From the time you bring your baby home, you talk to him, and try to get him to repeat the words you say. All humans learn to communicate in this manner–by listening and repeating. Your child can learn German the same way.
Bilingual Kids Perform Better in School
Whether your kids study German or any other foreign language at an earlier age, they'll do better in school. This is particularly true of classes that require problem-solving skills and logical thinking, like math and science, two areas where the United States lags behind other countries. Math is a necessary skill for career fields ranging from medicine to aerospace technology, an industry where Germany excels. Learning German now will enhance your child's school performance all through high school. Language skills can also improve the ability to perform well on tests like the SATs, which will help him get into a better college, and pursue a career in a rewarding field.
Besides helping your child perform better in the formal setting of school, learning a language can enhance your child's brain power overall. Learning a language forces the brain to work in a way it normally doesn't when processing simpler information. More neural pathways are created, which basically means more brain power. This translates to better critical thinking skills, and better performance on literacy tests. Studies have also demonstrated that bilingual children possess better problem-solving skills than monolingual kids, which can serve them well in every area of their lives.
German Language Lessons Offer Opportunities For Exchange Programs
Many high schools participate in student exchange programs. Such programs can give your child the chance not only to study German, but to immediately practice her skills with native speakers. One way to encourage this is by hosting a German-speaking student in your home. Visiting a foreign country alone can be a little frightening for a teenager, especially if his or her English skills aren't very good. If your child is able to speak German, it will help put your guest at ease. And who knows? Your child may make a lifelong friend.
Conversely, your child can be the exchange student, and travel to a German-speaking country, which can mean Germany itself, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland or any of the other several countries that use German as the official or a secondary language. As wonderful and rewarding as an exchange program experience can be, it won't be quite as fun for your child if he's unable to communicate effectively. He can feel left out at his host school, or be uncomfortable around his host family. Encourage him to study German before he goes to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
Bilingual People Have More Job Opportunities
You want your child to have as many job opportunities available to her as possible, and for her to be successful and financially secure. Job market competition is at an all-time high, and will only increase as more college graduates enter the workforce. One of the things employers will be looking for more often in the coming years is language skills. Help give your child an advantage by encouraging her to speak German.
Large corporations that maintain operations both in the United States and in Germany (or other European countries where German is spoken) need bilingual employees to effectively run their business. But big companies aren't the only ones who value language skills. Small businesses located in areas with large German communities can benefit from having someone who speaks German on the staff. There may even be a business that imports good from Germany, and needs someone who can communicate with vendors. If your child wasn't able to take German in high school, encourage him to seek it out in college. It will open up several job opportunities to him, and make him much more attractive to employers.
Bilingual People Earn More
Those same companies that look for bilingual employees often value language skills so much that they're willing to pay extra for them. They may offer a higher salary to someone who speaks German, or even annual bonuses tied to skill and proficiency. Your child's German skills can also mean a longer tenure with a good company that doesn't want to lose someone with such specialized skills.
In fact, a study showed that employees who are bilingual earn a 20 percent higher average hourly wage than those who are not. Now consider what that will mean over the life of your child's career. It can be the difference between just getting by, and being quite comfortable. This is especially important in tumultuous economic situations.
Pursue German for Kids Now
The most common languages taught in most high schools are Spanish and French. If your child is lucky enough to attend a school that also offers German, encourage him to give it a try. Sit down and explain to him all the ways it can help him now, and later in life. If your child is involved in making the decision, he'll be more willing to study German, and will perform better as well.
However, even if your child takes German language lessons at school, it still may not be enough to become truly proficient in the language. One hour a day, five days a week, without the opportunity to use German outside the classroom has a negative effect on retention. Find a good program of German for kids, and encourage him to pursue it outside of school. You can even take a few lessons with him. You'll be able to help him improve his skills, and may even enjoy the chance to learn German as well.