We wrote recently about how in-demand bilingual candidates are for roles in private households. One position in particular for which a bilingual or multilingual applicant is frequently requested is that of the nanny.
A family’s nanny will usually play a major role in bringing up the children, and many families want their kids to grow up speaking more than one language. The nanny is particularly important in this case if the parents themselves are monoglots, or if the family has a diverse international footing.
Whilst some internet-based keyboard warriors might tell you that teaching your child two (or more) languages at once can cause problems such as a speech delay, a language disorder or general academic confusion, this is completely untrue. There are in fact many benefits to a child being brought up to be bilingual.
Bilingual children have been shown to have better concentration (related to a need to pick a language and focus on it at a given moment), a higher state of mental alertness, greater problem-solving ability (due to the need to interpret two languages), and an overall greater vocabulary in both languages compared to their one-language peers.
There are other benefits too, such as improved memory, and some claim better interpersonal communication and a more-open minded, inclusive approach to life.
Later in life the ability to speak two or more languages opens up a myriad of possibilities for travel, work and life in general. Looking more quantitively, bilinguists earn on average over 10% more than other similarly skilled people.
Learning a language as an adult, or indeed as an older child, requires a great deal of study and discipline. However, learning an additional language comes very naturally to children at a young age, when they’re developing other fundamental abilities such as walking and hand-eye coordination. This is the ideal time to take the first steps on this path, hence bilingual or multilingual nannies being in such high demand.