Inspiration

How to Get Kids Into Computer Science

By informing yourself, using the resources around you, and learning from the data available to you, you can foster your child’s interest in the field, and get them into computer science!

Whether or not you’re tech-savvy, you might be wondering, “How do I get my kid engaged in computer science?” 

Computer science is becoming one of the most integral skills that kids should learn. From helping kids tap into their creative and critical thinking side to strengthening their problem-solving skills, some experts believe that everyone should learn to code.

But, where should parents start when introducing their children to computer science? Consider these tips and tricks for getting your kid interested.

Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Kid Involved in Computer Science

The following tips are an excellent starting point for getting your kids into computer science.

Assess Your Knowledge

It can be difficult to convince children that a skill is important in their lives if it’s unfamiliar to you. The solution: read up on computer science!

While Jorge Valenzuela is primarily addressing educators in his 2017 article, he says that “[I]t’s essential to assess your knowledge of the content and skills needed for effective teaching.” Even just skimming the basics will give you an upper hand while pitching the idea to your kids. 

Take a Class

Since it’s unlikely that you’re going to achieve an educator’s level of mastery in a short period of time, the ideal solution is finding a class geared toward children.

A wide variety of online children’s courses are available. Review your options, and consider asking your child which online course or exploratory platform resonates the most with them. 

Keep in mind that some children may be better suited to an in-person learning environment. Reach out to your local community center to inquire about their slate of programming courses. Your children will have the opportunity to learn about computer science, and they’ll likely make friends along the way.

Join a School Club

Numerous schools are offering computer science-related clubs as extracurricular activities. 

For instance, Hack Club, a coding and computer science club started by and for high school students, has a chapter presence in nearly 400 high schools around the globe. Code Club is a network of computer science clubs geared toward children ages nine to thirteen, and a Code Club can be found in over 160 countries. 

In all likelihood, computer science is represented in the afterschool activities available to your child. Plus, your kids will gain valuable social skills while they learn about computer science in a club setting. 

Using Data to Your Advantage

Childrens’ interest in, access to, and understanding of computer science principles is an ongoing field of study. The Brookings Institution published a literature review in August of 2020; the report offers helpful takeaways for parents. 

Working to Reduce Social Stigma

The Brookings literature review notes that one potential reason why kids may not express interest in computer science is because of the stigma associated with the field. The public’s impression is that computer scientists are largely male and introverted, but this isn’t always the case.

When encouraging your child to take up computer science, remind your child that computer scientists are a diverse group of people and that the field offers an opportunity to make new friends!

Don’t Underestimate Your Child’s Brain Power

Parents can unintentionally discourage their children from learning computer science. You may be under the impression that your kid just wasn’t born to be a computer scientist, and that everyone in the field is the same kind of thinker. 

However, studies suggest that computer science skills—and, thus, the “computer science brain”—are acquired through practice and repetition of learned skills.

While some kids don’t show interest or aptitude in STEM subjects, that doesn’t mean they don’t have computer science potential! 

Bringing Computer Science into Your Child’s Life

While it can sound intimidating to introduce your child to computer science, there are a few basic steps that parents can take to get their kids into the field. 

  • Get informed on computer science in order to show the practical importance to your kids.
  • Enroll your child in an online or in-person course.
  • Sign up for an afterschool computer science club. 
  • Reiterate that anyone can be a computer scientist.
  • Don’t underestimate your child’s abilities.

By informing yourself, using the resources around you, and learning from the data available to you, you can foster your child’s interest in the field, and get them into computer science!

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