Inspiration

Tips for Teaching Your Kids How to Code

With proper guidance and education, you can teach your kids to code in a way that instills a love for learning.

Today’s kids are more tech-savvy than their predecessors, which makes them far more adept at learning computer coding. Despite this fact, only 35% of American public schools teach computer science. Alternatively, 90% of parents want their kids to study CS courses. 

The lack of access to computer programming tools has created a push for parents to find ways to teach their kids how to code. How does a less tech-savvy generation inspire children to get into computer programming?

Essential Steps for Teaching Your Kids to Code

As modern tech like smartphones and tablets become even more prevalent, children can greatly benefit from discovering the wizardry of computer coding. Digitally literal kids will also fare better in the modern workplace, as companies become progressively more high-tech.

The ever changing landscape of computer languages and data building techniques can be daunting for parents to navigate.

Where do you even start?

Find Out What They Already Know 

Chances are your child may be at least somewhat familiar with basic computer coding, especially if they play popular online computer games, like Minecraft.

Many basic internet and device programs use interfaces that offer basic prompts similar to HTML or javascript coding. If you find out what they already are accustomed to, you may be able to quickly branch off their knowledge.

Start with Common Coding languages

There are several popular coding languages available that your preteen son or daughter has likely run across. Starting with this may help place them on the path of more sophisticated languages further down the road.

The ones most commonly used in business and games are:

  • Javascript – As one of the most commonly used computer languages in the world, parsing javascript all but guarantees they will be able to program just about anything.
  • HTML – HTML is kind of a building block program as it starts simply and gets a tad bit more complex. As it stands, it is a great program to learn as it is considered the gateway to all other languages.
  • Python – Seen practically everywhere, kids find this program easy to understand right off the bat. Children also have access to an inbuilt library that assists in creating anything, from the most simple, to the most complex. 
  • Ruby – Ruby is easy to use, alter, and the code quality is top-notch. A must for newbie coders.

Keep it Simple Yet Engaging

Don’t try to overcomplicate learning coding, as this will likely cause the child to become disinterested. You don’t want them to associate coding with a long, drawn out and boring process.

With this in mind, consider a few of the ways you can introduce coding to your child that they will find enormously enjoyable.

  • Coding games – Minecraft is the first mainstream game where kids dabbled with coding. Other, more comprehensive coding games are available as well. Many of these lean towards being educational but are still fun.  
  • Freeware tools – Scratch is perhaps the go-to, kid-friendly tool that parents use to teach their kids coding for free.
  • Paid subscription tools – Many coding programs offer subscription services to tutorials and resources for a small, minimal fee. Try to find one that provides a free trial before taking a plunge. 
  • Coding books for kids – If your child is an avid reader, they may appreciate age-appropriate literature on coding. This can come in the form of a traditional hard copy or kindle edition work.  

Sign Them Up for a Kid’s Coding Club

Computer science camps and clubs are a great way to teach your kids how to code. Not only will they learn from knowledgeable instructors, but they will also likely make friends who share their interests.

Many of these clubs are hands-on or online, with instructors who truly know how to shape young minds to embrace the tech of the future. They can also be tailored towards specific groups, like girls, preteens, teens, and those with disabilities.

Make Coding a Household Chore

Teaching your kids to code can assist in building responsible behaviors. For instance, you can set a daily time and limit for coding hours as a way to instill discipline and focus. Apply the same rules towards other chores like cleaning, taking out the trash, and caring for pets as part of this routine.

Try to watch for signs of Internet addiction as your pre-teen learns to code. Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) can cause kids to struggle with social interaction and creates a myriad of neurological and psychological challenges.

A Bright Future for Coders

With proper guidance and education, you can teach your kids to code in a way that instills a love for learning. The lessons gained will also play an integral future role in problem-solving, critical thinking, and working with others. Good luck, and happy coding!

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