Tips for Introducing Your Child to Coding at Home

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The first thing to consider is how you are going to manage your child’s expectations. Ask your child what they know about coding, and perhaps gauge how they feel about it. If your child is expecting to learn how to be a hacker or a game developer in just a day, then introduce some of the less exciting aspects to lower your child’s expectations. On the other hand, if your child has seen TV shows that show coders as dull and boring, then explain how it can presents puzzles and problems, and that these problems and puzzles are not so boring. 

Try Coding Games

There are many to choose from, and each offers a range of experiences for kids at different levels of learning. From kids who want to understand the concepts behind coding, to kids who are pretty advanced and who want to get better and faster at coding. The code org games and Code Monkey’s games offer a way for kids to learn at home and at their own pace, while still keeping them engaged with the subject at hand. Nobody is saying a child has to be constantly stimulated in order to learn and engage independently, but it doesn’t hurt if the possible monotonous side of learning is spiced up a little with a few games and entertaining distractions.

Let Your Child Quit

Many children do not like sitting still and doing something intellectual for a long time. If your child shows resistance, then allow your child to quit and then reintroduce the idea later in life when your child is a teen. Take it from experience that you cannot sell the idea of coding to a child who is not interested. But, children grow up quickly, and within a few years may like the idea of coding. 

If your kid starts to enjoy coding or seems to be taking to it, then try to start and end every session on a fun or enjoyable note. If there are certain coding games that your child likes, then start and end your sessions with them. This creates the impression in a child’s mind that the general experience is a good one.

Refresh Previous Lessons Before Each New Session

Just like learning a spoken language, it can be very easy to forget between sessions. That is why, at the beginning of each session, you should have a quick recap of some of the previous sessions to help your kid get back on board with what you are doing. This is especially true if you are both working on a project. Think of it like this. Think of it like your kid is reading a very long story book, but where the child needs a quick recap of the plot so far otherwise the next page in the book makes little sense. Recapping what the kid already knows helps stop that jolt of confusion when you resume from where you left off.

Never Assume Your Child Fully Understands

The look on a kid’s face when he or she understands and when he or she is lost can be very similar. Many children will lose their understanding of what is going on and will still listen carefully and even nod. Optimistic kids may do this because they believe they will re-pick-it-up as time goes on, and some kids may be too embarrassed to say they are lost. Other kids will simply not want to interrupt you because you look like you are having a good time. 

Do your best not to look down upon or chastise a child for not following. Your child may have been polity nodding for a while. If that is the case, and you realize your kid isn’t following you, just start again but take a different route. Better still, break things up with a little coding game, and then re-approach the subject again in a later session.

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