Our children are growing up in a much different world than what we, their parents, ever did. With the incredible increase in technology, there are many other situations to navigate virtually.
With this increase in technology use, interest in coding and programming has skyrocketed not only with professional adults but with children, too. When our kids express an interest in coding, it brings them into a realm that teaches them problem-solving, math strategies, and creativity.
As parents, we want to prepare our kids for the future and set them up for success. So in a world where software development jobs are expected to grow by 22% in the next decade, it isn’t surprising that 73% of parents would rather have their children learn to code than a foreign language.
However, some parents — whether they are technophobes or coders themselves — might not know the best way to encourage their children’s interest in coding. Keep reading for 10 tips for parents with kids who love coding.
1. Embrace the Journey
It is important to encourage kids to learn more about topics they are interested in, and coding is no exception. By embracing kids’ coding, you can see how your child’s mind works and how they process new information.
When you observe how they retain knowledge in subjects that interest them, you can easily transfer those techniques to their education in other areas.
2. Look for Outlets
With the increased interest in coding for kids, the amount of peer groups, classes, and workshops for students has also grown. For parents who aren’t as familiar with the subject or even youth who are looking for new social groups with similar interests, these outlets can provide a significant amount of learning and collaboration opportunities.
3. Explore Applications
A quick search in the app store will show various options for teaching kids coding through different games aimed at the younger crowd. Children as young as toddlers can begin learning the beginning stages of coding through sequencing.
As your child gains adequate knowledge, the game will level up into more challenging tasks. This layout will keep your learner interested and continually learning about an endless and increasingly complex field.
4. Remain Open-Minded
Your children’s tasks and strategies in their learning process can seem pointless for those who don’t understand coding. However, even the most basic tasks are built upon as time goes on. The process creates a solid foundation for youth to build on as they continue to learn more intricate coding details.
5. Ask Them To Teach You
A great way to remain involved with your child in an area you aren’t familiar with is to ask them to teach you what they have learned. This move shows interest in the topic they are intrigued about and gives you insight into what they are learning.
You will be amazed at how quickly your child catches on to the principles of coding and how they can implement the elements into other areas. Request to see what they can create with their newfound knowledge to see them put it into action.
6. Let Them Have Fun
Education can often be highly disciplined and forced. However, there’s beauty in allowing your child to explore something at their own pace, taking the time to thoroughly understand what they are learning. Even if they do the same project 10 times over, there is value in repetition.
Stepping back and letting them explore may go against typically learning standards and norms, but it can have many benefits in the long run.
7. Introduce Real Life Coding Situations
While many children know about coding through their games, it can be hard to understand what it does in the real world. Introducing your children to programmers or pointing out situations where coding made something possible can help them connect the process to the outside world.
8. Don’t Force It
As with any hobby, don’t force the subject on your child. If it gets to the point that your child no longer expresses interest in kids’ coding, don’t push the learning on them. With time, they may get back into the swing of things. However, it is just as possible that they won’t.
The biggest thing to take away from their learning, no matter the length of time, is that kids’ coding sets them up for success in a variety of subjects later on in life. Their skills help with problem-solving, math, creativity, and conceptual skills. Skills such as these can parlay into many subjects and career choices.
9. Bring In Tangible Learning
Sure, many online programs and applications help children learn about coding. However, there are also several options that are already available that are off-screen and take a physical form. Many companies offer different games and toys that instruct children on the basic skills of coding.
Both Fisher-Price and Learning Resources offer toys that help younger children in this subject through play. With the popularity of the topic, many new products are being introduced to help children explore coding.
10. Keep Your Kids Safe
As with any online activity, take the appropriate steps to keep your children and students safe while learning how to code. There are many privacy extensions that you can put in place for exploring through an online browser. Additionally, be sure to know your child’s username and password for all games and programs that they utilize.
Freedom to learn is essential, but it’s also critical to keep our youngest learners safe as they go through their education coding journey.
The newest generation is growing up with a completely different set of skills than the previous ones. While parents may not understand everything that goes into kids’ coding, it is essential to embrace a child’s interest and give them the tools necessary to expand upon their knowledge.
Many parents feel that they are blindly going into the subject with their child due to a lack of understanding. Thankfully, many applications, games, and resources are available to help parents and children alike throughout the process. Coding takes many forms, whether it’s online, in-person with groups and workshops, or through play.
The 10 tips above for parents with kids who love coding will help everyone navigate this new field. Whether it’s reversing roles and having the child teach the parent, or stepping back and letting them do their thing, these tips will help adults and children alike during the learning process.
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