5 Smart Tips For Parents Who Want To Teach Their Kids to Code
There’s an age-old saying that the skills children need to learn are reading, ‘riting, and ’rithmetic. In today’s digital age, besides those fundamental skills, another skill that comes in handy is coding. Also known as computer programming, coding is the process of creating executable computer programs to accomplish tasks and allows users to create mobile apps, websites, programs, and other computer software people interact with every day.
As people spend more time on devices and rely on technology to assist with more tasks, careers in software development or computer engineering are becoming a more practical option. Realizing the importance of digital literacy, some parents may be planning ahead and thinking of ways to give their kids a headstart on learning to code, while some may have already started looking for means to get their children interested in the activity. Whether you’ve started teaching your kids how to code or are about to start their coding journey, here are some tips for parents who want to teach their kids to code.
Coding doesn’t always have to involve technical components like variables, conditions, and syntax. Children can start picking up coding concepts even in kindergarten through games and activities that can serve as a foundation they can build on over time. For instance, unplugged activities such as solving puzzles, navigating through mazes, and obstacle courses are activities that can get children moving and thinking, and even prepare them in their coding journey. Though children may learn and develop at different rates, parents can generally start getting kids into basic exercises as early as 5 or 6 years and can start learning programming basics and start coding at around 7 years old.
Ease Kids into Coding
Forcing kids to do something may lead to them not enjoying it at all. You can ease kids into learning to code by talking to them about how their favorite video games are made through coding, or how robots are made to move by using the same means. Find something tangible to help them formulate what coding is to pique their interest. Kids may react differently to the thought of learning how to code or learning something new in general, and it’s best to respect whatever their preference may be.
Make Time for it
Learning a new skill may take time and not everyone progresses at the same pace. In the same way that kids allot time for their activities or interests, you should also allot time to support or learn with them be it with coding, or any other activity they decide to pursue. Take the time to learn with your kids, answer their questions or search for answers together, or simply just listen to their ideas. Parents’ support in activities children pursue can encourage them and give them more confidence to do better and even excel in whatever endeavor they set their mind to.
Experiment and Explore Practical Activities
Kids may not see how coding benefits them right away but you can try different activities to get them more interested in the activity. There are various activities and platforms that give kids hands-on experience with coding. For instance, you can build and program a robot or simple machine, create a calculator with code, or try out Scratch, a visual programming language and an online community and learning platform for beginners to code. Through the platform, kids can build their own stories and games which they can share with others. Learning isn’t limited to books and classroom settings. Find out how your child learns best, and tailor your approach to coding to their preference.
Enroll in Classes
Learning styles vary from person to person. Some children may be comfortable learning to code on their own through books, videos, or other online platforms, some may work better with minimal adult supervision, while some learn better with others or in an instructor-led setting. Coding classes allow kids to learn to code and discover applications for their newfound knowledge. These classes can also reinforce what they already know and take their skills to the next level or give them a venue to hone their skills further.
Besides being an essential skill in the digital age, coding also aids in children’s analytical and logical thinking, strengthens one’s decision-making ability, and improves a person’s memory. Coding can also help develop childrens’ social skills, enhance the way they communicate, and can also teach them the value of teamwork and collaboration.
Although there are many more benefits to why kids should learn how to code, it’s also important for parents to respect children’s preference for activities. Everyone’s coding journey is different, some kids may pick the skill up easier than others, while some might take their time to warm up to learning it. The world is their oyster, encourage them to learn new things at their own pace.