Coding and programming have become an integral part of the computing system right now. It is often regarded as a basic life skill that a person must have just like mathematics. Children who are interested in technology and computers are often encouraged to pursue coding. It is always better to start early with a thing as it provides a jump start for the future. Rather than pressurizing kids to learn to code, it is always better to make them love and cherish the process. So, here we will mention some of the Do’s and Don’ts which we think are important when it comes to teaching programming for kids.
Do’s of Programming for Kids:
- Make it fun: Do you remember the time when you used to hate mathematics? The main reason for doing so was because the subject was dull and boring for you to enjoy. So, we think that it is always better to make things fun and exciting for a child. Computers are already interesting to them, so you can start by introducing easy programs that make fun of things like games. With time they will surely progress to harder and intricate levels of coding as they fall in love with the subject.
- Make us of Visual Block Languages: You shouldn’t forget that a kid irrespective of their intelligence needs a simpler way to learn things. Visual Block Languages such as Scratch and Blockly are great ways of introducing programming to the kids. Rather than being a helicopter for them, you can make things more attractive.
- Let the kids operate: Parents do want their children to learn to program, but they are often afraid to let them have control of the computer. That would never make things easy and coding would turn out to be dull and boring for the child. They would like to have a touch and feel of the computer. Also, practical knowledge is quite important when it comes to coding. Let them check out the computer and encourage them to use other programs.
- Make it creative: We can go on and on about dull and boring things. As an adult, we often feel the need to have exciting things. It is nothing different for a child as they crave much more attention and newness than we do. So, programming should be fun and creative for them. Rather than sticking only to the books, try to bring practicality into it. If you are a parent of a kid who is learning to code, try to hire a teacher who teaches with enthusiasm and look for someone who can work well with kids.
- Interact with them: When you are dealing with kids, you should always come down to their level. It is better to interact with them and talk to them about things to make it interesting for them. At times, adults may feel a communication gap with the kids. It is better to keep talking with them and listening to the problems they might have. Also, while you provide a solution, always make sure that it is easy to understand, rather than being something hard. Do try to motivate them and push them further into their journey of being a coder.
- Make it consistent: When you want your child or your student to learn new things, try to make things as consistent as possible. Try to create a nice environment for learning and the sessions should be consistent. If possible, it is always better to be including it daily. Even a half an hour session works great for a child. Video tutorials are great for this reason as they can be played whenever the child is ready for it.
Don’ts of Programming for Kids:
- Don’t put pressure: We know, that it is often pressurizing on the parents when their child is learning something new. It is exciting for them to know about the progress of the child, especially when they are reaching a new milestone. Parents or teachers should never put pressure on the child as it can deviate them from making progress. Rather than pressurizing a child, it is always better to motivate them. Forcing them can burn them out. Kids who have an interest in the subject will always keep on doing it themselves.
- Don’t use programs made for adults: Just because the child is learning to code, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to understand complex learning programs made for adults. Showing them those programs may turn out to become a negative point for them as they might lose interest. Along with that, a kid may require a longer time compared to an adult and they may need instructions that are easier to understand. These days, there are great programs made just for the kids and they are going to love it.
- Don’t shy away from text-based coding: A kid has the potential to learn a lot. When they are induced into coding, it is natural that they will want to learn new things. Programming languages are great and kids will be able to use it if they understand it. So, rather than demotivating them, you should let them have a go at it. Make them see video tutorials on the subject and they will be able to catch it quite quickly. Many parents, as well as teachers, spend most of the time deciding and taking a decision on behalf of the children. This isn’t right and the kid should be able to have a say in it. Rather than dictating over them, let them decide the programming language that they want to try. In the end, with the right level of practice and understanding, a kid will be able to learn to code in all the programming languages as they get better at it.
- Don’t assume a child’s learning capabilities: At times, adults can be tiring for a child, they can be judgmental and parents may nag about the absence of milestones. Learning to code is a process and every kid may react differently. Just because a kid takes a little more time, it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t achieve the milestone. You need to give them a little time as they will learn to code along with their usual school work. Rather than demotivating them or putting pressure on them, it is better to motivate them and encourage them to do better. If you think that the child is lagging behind a lot, you should approach the child to know about any of the problems that they might be having.
- Don’t forget to congratulate them on little things: As a parent or a teacher, it is always better to make them see the positive things. As an adult, you should understand them and congratulate them when they reach the milestones. This will provide them with an added level of enthusiasm to continue with learning to code.
So, here are the Do’s and Don’ts of making a kid learn to program. Always be proud of what the child is doing and we are sure that they will do great. With time these little buds will become the brains that drive the future of programming. Do follow this and we are sure that the kid will appreciate it.