Coding has become an essential part of many educational curriculums around the country. Kids are starting to take coding classes in school to help better prepare them for the future. With the proper guidance, coding can also be an outlet for a child’s creativity just as art and music are.
One major challenge is that not all schools offer coding classes. Even if your child has opportunities at school for attending coding classes or coding clubs, not all kids will immediately be receptive to learning how to code (or even enjoy it).
Just as with any other hobby, there are specific tips that parents should follow to teach their kids how to code, even if they don't know how to code themselves. In this post, I'm going to share with you the best tips on guiding your kids into learning how to code, and potentially share how you can learn along with them! The ability to code is a lifelong skill that opens up endless discoveries, opportunities, and ideas for both child and parents alike.
Why Should Kids Learn How to Code?
Since computers and smartphones are a part of our everyday lives, coding has become just as important part of our lives. Coding creates apps, games, programs, almost anything that we use to function every day. Here are some reasons why kids should learn how to code:
- Acts as a creative outlet when they can make games and digital art
- Provides another way to learn how things work
- Improves problem-solving skills
- Gives opportunities to think differently.
Coding is this generation’s new way to help kids learn in a different structure and format. If kids learn how to code, it’s an additional way to help teach children many different skills and school subjects. Sometimes kids might not be receptive to coding, but following these tips will make it easier.
Best Tips on Teaching Kids How to Code as Parents
First and foremost to teaching a kid how to do anything is to be patient. There is nothing more discouraging to a kid when they are learning something new than seeing that their parents are getting impatient while they are struggling. Patience starts even before coding is being taught as well.
All children learn from imitating their parents’ behavior. If a parent is more patient with a kid while they are younger, the kid is more likely to have patience later on. When parents play with their kids, they should encourage them to continue trying if they’re failing at tasks, such as building blocks.
Parents should also know when it’s time for their child to take a break. If kids don’t take a break from coding, they may get even more discouraged. Some ways you can be patient with your kid while they’re learning how to code are:
- Keep positive energy.
- Use words of encouragement to keep them going if they’re struggling.
- Teach them to know when to step away from coding if they’re struggling.
- Let them know that setbacks happen, and they will hit a road bump every once in a while.
- Give your kid strategies to be patient.
- Teach your kid how to cope with stress.
Allow Your Child to Teach You
One thing that kids love to do is feel like they’ve accomplished something, not for personal fulfillment, but to receive praise from others around them. If your kid learns something new while coding or achieves an accomplishment, no matter how small, acknowledge it.
If you show an interest in their accomplishments, they are more likely to continue coding. Even further, you can have your child teach you how to do the code or how they learned or created the code. Your child will learn how to teach as well (and teach them patience if you have trouble understanding!).
Allowing your child to teach you how to code will also inspire them to learn more complex codes. This can give them a sense that they can do something their mom or dad can’t do! A real chance for them to show off.
Even if you already know how to code, try to find a way for your child to teach you something, such as how they learned the code, the steps they used to create the code, or their inspiration.
Talk About What Projects They’re Working On
Engaging with your child is essential for their desire to code. It will teach them that what they are doing matters and that they shouldn’t feel like no one cares about what they’re doing. Whether they are coding at home as a hobby or learning it in school, your kid will always be working on some sort of coding project.
When you ask your kid about the coding project they’re working on, some ways to approach this are:
- “Can you tell me a bit about this project?”
- “What is your overall goal?”
- “Can you show me how to do this?”
- “How long have you been working on this?”
Find Games That Allow Coding and Creativity
Not many kids like learning from a book or looking at the blackboard with their teacher lecturing them. Since video games have been around, there have been many games created to teach kids different subjects in school and computer skills.
Games are more engaging than just staring at a screen, especially when they can teach kids different things to do. Roblox and Minecraft are two well-known games that teach kids to code that allow creativity.
If your kid is a bit older and more advanced, they can also create mods for different computer games.
Take a Break From the Screen
Burnout isn’t just something adults feel when they have had enough work. Kids can experience burnout as well. This can happen for many reasons and lead to your kid no longer wanting to code. Kids should take a break from coding if they are:
- Spending several hours coding.
- Working on projects at school and home.
- Showing signs of frustration.
- Having difficulties understanding a new code.
Always have other hobbies available to allow your kid to relax and rejuvenate themselves. Since coding is mostly seated, a healthy, active hobby can give them a break. You can also teach your kid some self-care practices such as meditation to help cope with frustrations.
Practice Coding Away from the Computer
While taking a break from the screen, kids can still be practicing and learning to code, whether they are intentionally doing it or not. Bringing kids off the computer will help them make discoveries in the real world to apply to their codes.
They can also be inspired to work on different codes while exploring hobbies and subjects. Applying coding to outside practices such as medicine, sports, and the arts is essential if your kid wants to pursue a career in coding.
Another way kids can practice coding away from the computer is to play with different toys to encourage coding. Some of the best toys are:
Don’t Force Your Kid to Code
Finally, another one of the most important things to do if you want to teach your kids to code is not to force them. Forcing your kid to do something will make them not want to do it even more. Your kid could be experiencing burnout or just need a break from coding. They may not even enjoy coding at all.
If your child is experiencing burnout from coding, allow them to take some space and pursue other hobbies. If they are also coding in school, just leave it at school and whatever homework they bring home.
Sometimes your child could be feeling discouraged or frustrated while learning new codes. It is important to encourage them and maybe guide them a bit, but let them take it if they need a break. Forcing anyone to do something while they’re discouraged or frustrated will make them less likely to want to continue pursuing it.
Coding has quickly become an essential part of almost every kid’s life, whether it’s in school or the video games they’re playing. If you want to teach your kid to code, the best thing you can do is allow your child to code with their own free will and engage them the best they can. Don’t force them or discourage them if they feel frustrated, and ultimately, have fun!
More Coding Inspiration for Kids
- Code Ninjas - Is the coding program for kids worth it?
- Python for Kids - Parents Guide
- How to Explain Coding to Kids
- Minecraft Coding for Kids
- Coding Information and Resources to Teach Kids Computer Science