Why learning a new language is good for the whole family

New research shows adults learn languages as easily as kids—here are ideas on making language learning part of your family’s routine.

Heading out on a nature walk near their Carbondale, Colorado, home, Rachel Mulry and her three kids review some words: verde (green), naranja (orange), rojo (red). The family is learning Spanish together, and naming the colors of the fall leaves they’ll see is a great opportunity to practice their Spanish-speaking skills.

Scientists have long known that learning a new language is good for a child’s brain development. By rearranging and creating new connections in the brain, language learning can help kids focus more easily and resist distractions, deal better with tasks that require switching from one activity to another, and perform better in school.

Learning a new language has benefits for an adult’s brain, too—plus new research suggests that it’s not as difficult as experts previously thought for adults to pick up a new language. And immersing yourself in a new language as a family might just be one of the most effective—and easiest—ways to learn a new language. 

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