In today’s digital age, parents need to make sure their children acquire valuable skills that will truly set them up for a lifetime of success. One such important skill is learning how to write code. Even though your child might not be interested in writing complex data processing algorithms, they’ll definitely enjoy playing around with code as they create projects that involve creative input.
If you’re a parent looking to get your child to learn how to write code, you’re not alone. Ninety percent of parents would like coding to be part of the school curriculum, according to a Gallup poll. Learning how to code “future proofs” your child, giving them an edge in the modern digital world. The good news is that you can take advantage of the educational resources available and get started. Even if your child doesn’t pursue a future in computer science or programming, they’ll be able to maximize their creativity and acquire problem solving and creative thinking skills.
Now that you know why it’s important for your child to learn to code, how do you help them learn as a parent? What can you do? Here are five tips to follow even as you get them started with coding.
Make Sure Your Teaching Style Suits Their Age Group
Like every other parent, you might have wondered what’s the right age to enroll your child in coding classes. Most kids can learn how to code as soon as they start learning how to read and write. You really don’t need to be a software developer or computer science tutor to help your child learn how to code. If you know how to use a computer mouse and keyboard, you’re good to go.
However, it’s important that you adapt your teaching style to your child’s age group. Teens might be able to participate in summer code camps, where they can learn to navigate a container registry, use Kubernetes, and complete other complex coding tasks. If you’re dealing with a pre-teenager or teenager who wants to create more sophisticated programs, Python would be the most suitable programming language for them. Younger kids (ages 5 to 7 years) who are yet to develop great typing skills can benefit from options like ScratchJr. There are plenty of other games that teach coding skills, too.
Follow Their Ideas
Children are always curious to learn new things. Their imagination runs wild and can be an asset if you’re open to it. Chances are you already have envisioned everything they need to do. And that’s okay. But why not follow their ideas for once? Don’t you think it’s important to choose something they’re interested in building?
If they’re interested in creating a web page, don’t insist on your idea of a video game. Take time to find out what your child wants to build. Even if their ideas seem absurd, disproportionate, or unfeasible, let them use their creativity without insisting on a predetermined course. They might just surprise you.
Make it Fun and Entertaining
You need to deconceptualize coding and make everything fun and entertaining. Younger children find the “Hello World” method boring and tedious. Your child could easily feel dissuaded from learning how to code if you insist on this method.
You’ll pique their interest and keep them engaged if you tell them they’re about to learn how to create a small video game rather than learn how to write code. You can even use some of the games they already know as an example. Relate coding with real-life activities, such as cooking or baking, where you might have to follow a recipe, adding one ingredient at a time. Using this method will help them understand key concepts better and find the learning process entertaining. The idea is to provide your child with an interactive and entertaining way to learn key concepts.
Search Out for Group Classes and a Mentor
Finding a professional tutor for one-on-one tutoring is a great way to help your child learn how to code. However, this might not be an affordable option for many parents. Search out for online courses or a local class that can give your child individualized attention and live support with real programmers. Make sure you choose classes that accommodate your child’s needs and use well-crafted lesson plans.
Another option could be to find a mentor who’s willing to help your child learn. A mentor can be a computer science tutor, a colleague, or just a friend. Many software developers enjoy volunteering and can offer mentorship to kids online or in-person.
Don’t Take Control of the Mouse and Keyboard
It’s not uncommon for parents to want to micromanage everything their kids do. You want to avoid the temptation of trying to fix their learning problems at all costs. There’s no way your kid is going to type at your speed. But that doesn’t mean you need to take control of the mouse and keyboard when they’re slow or stuck.
You have to trust that they can come up with the solution and get back on track themselves. Otherwise, you’ll lose their attention. When learning a new skill, children understand concepts and retain information better if they’re allowed to fix the problem themselves. If they’re in a group, let them work together to come up with the solution. Unless they’ve asked for your input, don’t rob them of the experience of creating projects by themselves.