How to Teach Kids Coding: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents
Did you know, at the age of 10, Elon Musk learned how to code and created a video game called “Blastar”? (He sold the game to a PC magazine at the age of 12.)
Bill Gates is no different. “I was 13 years old when I fell in love with programming,” he once said.
In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, a prodigy himself, revealed his three-year-old daughter has already started to learn to code.
These are three of the most successful individuals in the world with an unparalleled legacy and cultural impact. And they not only know how to code, but they learned it at a very early age.
This is a tell-tale of how important the coding skills are now and why every parent should consider encouraging their kids towards.
Coding is the most important job skill of the future with unimaginable career prospects. As the world goes beyond just ‘digital’, into the cloud and as it adopts the as-a-service model more aggressively, anyone who knows how to write lines of code is automatically positioned for better jobs, higher pay, and desired opportunities.
Why is Coding So Important for School Students
Coding is the language of the future. But then it’s much more than that.
There are many reasons why people should acquire this skill, including school students.
So, if you have been contemplating whether or not your child should learn coding, here are nine reasons why they should:
1. Unlocks career opportunities
Coding is the most important job skill of the future. And as the world embraces the cloud, the demand for people who knows how to program is only going to get bigger.
Programmers already get paid much higher at jobs than their contemporaries. And with higher experience, their earnings multiply.
They also have the flexibility to work in a diverse range of industries, from healthcare and SaaS to finance and education, per their interest and preference.
Moreover, even within the coding, there are several niches that one can pick and specialize in, which further influences their career.
So, by enrolling your kid in the school for coding and ensuring they acquire this skill, you can make sure they have a booming career with plenty of choices and financial independence.
2. Boosts their ability to think
Here’s a fact: While as beneficial as coding for school students is for their career, it’s far from easy.
It demands hard work and consistent effort. And this “challenge” is one of the underrated benefits of coding.
Learning how to code pushes kids and school students to break through their existing shells and think on a higher level. It enhances their computational thinking capabilities, which subsequently impacts different aspects of their lives in a positive way.
So, coding for primary school students is a good way to help them become better thinkers.
3. Makes them problem solvers
Writing lines of scripts to create something of utility will have several roadblocks on the way. You will encounter errors, and these errors may take hours to fix.
Such roadblocks turn kids into problem solvers.
It nourishes their analytical skills, making them better at identifying problems, tracking the core source of those problems, and then defining steps to fix those problems.
Being good at solving problems reflects positively in other aspects of life, helping the individual resolve issues in a much more effective way.
4. Adds a flair of fun
Going back to the point previously made: Coding is not easy, BUT it is interesting and fun.
This is especially true today than ever when schools and solution providers have gamified the learning process for the school students.
There are much more visuals and engagement during the learning, which keep the kids glued and interested. It also makes a big difference in their memory retention.
So, don’t assume that it’s just going to be a tedious and boring task for your kid. At a good school for coding and under the right guidance of a mentor, this learning curve will be filled with fun and excitement.
5. Inculcates the habit of learning
Learning ability isn’t self-nourishing. You need to invest in it to ensure it grows, gets better, and has a bigger capacity.
This is what coding does for school students. It inculcates a habit of learning for them.
There are a lot of how-tos involved when programming. One must remember the fundamentals; they are required to memorize the basic principles.
Furthermore, as one continues coding, they discover more advanced rules and parameters, which improves their learning capabilities.
So, coding for primary school students is a great way to sharpen the latter’s learning skills.
6. Builds their confidence
This is among the underrated benefits of coding for kids.
When you’re good at something (especially when that “something” is highly relevant), you automatically gain more confidence and esteem.
So, teaching your kids how to code can play a pivotal role in shaping their self-confidence, which subsequently can shape their personality.
7. Prepares them for self-independency
In the gig economy of today, this is a very important benefit of coding.
When with the needed programming skills, you don’t necessarily have to go the 9-5 job route. Instead, you can choose to freelance; freelance developers make a lot more today than those in traditional jobs.
You can even create your own apps, websites, and software and build a business.
Such flexibility in terms of what you can do in your career paves the way for self-independency. You don’t have to be tied to a particular job or location. You’re free to do a wide range of things that interest you if you have the coding skills.
If this kind of independence you want for your kids when they grow up, teaching them how to code is a great choice.
8. Improves their creative bone
Admittedly, coding doesn’t get the credit for what it does for one’s creativity.
In reality, coding can be a great creative outlet, helping you go beyond conventional boundaries and try newer things.
In the end, remember that those codes are really a language. And learning a new language boosts one’s creative capabilities.
The process of learning and implementing teaches kids to experiment more and build better things. It gives kids a clean canvas to “draw”, code or create with no constraints.
9. Enhances their academic performance
This is the culmination of several benefits learning to code brings to the table.
When your kids are more creative, have confidence, are better at analytical thinking, and love to learn – it all combines to improve their academic performance. They do well in their tests and stay ahead in the class.
10. Sharpens their soft skills
Coding is a technical skill, but it also does a lot for your soft skills.
In addition to building confidence and problem-solving capabilities, it enhances one’s various traits.
For instance, coding to create something of utility is often a collaborative effort. So, it improves your teamwork and communication skills. It also impacts your time management and organizational skills.
Further, several projects can be stressful and challenging to fulfill. In that, you also learn how to manage stress effectively.
So, in many ways, the person learning how to code sees a wholesome personal growth over the period. Such growth can be extremely rewarding for your kids, helping them build a successful career and live a more fulfilling life.
9 Tips to Teach Your Kids Coding
Now that you know why coding for school students is crucial, time to address the next important question…
How to teach your kids coding?
How to teach coding to high school students?
Of course, you can enroll them in a good school for coding and be done with it. But as a parent, there’s much more to do to ensure your kids learn better, enjoy the experience, and make the most of this process.
Here are nine tips to teach your kids coding the right way:
1. Enroll them in good online classes
This is the most obvious step. But the key here is “good”.
There are many institutes now that offer coding classes for kids and school students. Not all of them are good. So, it’s your responsibility to comb through those names and pick someone that provides quality coding education to kids.
Check the kind of courses they offer, the teaching capabilities they have, their teachers’ qualifications and experience, and their market reputation; consider a range of factors.
Based on your analysis, enroll your kids in the best online coding classes.
2. Pick a school for them that teaches coding
It helps if your kid’s day school also offers coding classes. This way, you can avoid them going to extra external classes.
LEAD-powered schools have a robust and deeply researched curriculum, which also includes our exclusive Coding and Computational Skills (CCS) program. The program is designed intensively to help school students learn coding in a more practical way.
You can find a LEAD-powered school near your home and get your kid enrolled there.
3. Choose good coding apps for them
This won’t be too difficult. The market is now filled with numerous coding apps, some of which specifically target school students.
Find one such app for your kid. Make sure it has all the key features. It helps if the lessons are engaging and the overall teaching method is gamified.
Coding apps are already recommended by experts. They are effective and assure to amplify your kid’s learning journey.
4. What’s the right language?
Generally, the school or classes where your kid learns how to code will take care of this.
However, if you still want to be involved in what programming language your kid learns, you must first get informed yourself. So, do some research.
Generally, Scratch, a free programming tool, is a great option to welcome your kid to the coding world. Python is a very popular language that’s often recommended to older kids.
Note not to push your child towards Java and C# too early, which might come off complicated and put off your child’s interest.
5. Learn coding yourself to support them
This isn’t essential, but it’s something you can do.
Your kids are much more likely to enjoy the process and learn better if you team up with them.
So, don’t simply ask them to learn to code. Instead, support them by learning programming yourself together with them.
Such a collaborative and supportive infrastructure would be very beneficial for them in their learning journey.
6. Lean them towards practical applications (not theories)
One of the biggest pain points of anyone learning how to code is theories and concepts that need to be memorized.
Make sure your kids don’t encounter the same pain points.
Don’t reward them for memorizing lines. Instead, reward and compliment them for what they create.
Encourage them to put to use what they have learned.
Constant practice leaned towards applying codes (over memorizing the theories) will yield much better results in the long run.
7. Create milestones and micro-goals
Your child won’t miraculously become a master coder. It will take years. Moreover, in this segment, learning never stops. There’s always room to learn more, adopt better practices and continuously grow.
So, don’t wait for your child to complete something big. Instead, create trackable milestones and micro-goals for them. Celebrate their every little achievement in the journey to learn how to code.
Such an approach and celebratory gestures on small wins can be very encouraging for kids. It can keep them interested and motivated, positively impacting their learning journey.
8. Focus on their “casual media consumption”
Here’s a video published by TED-ed:
It is one of the most innovative ways of learning programming, highly effective for kids. Such videos (and overall media) are engaging and visually appealing. They have it all that a kid or school student might like.
So, instead of letting your kids casually consume media on the internet or TV, you can encourage them to engage with such educational videos. So that even when passive, they are continuously and subconsciously learning without boring themselves. If anything, they would enjoy interacting with such educational materials.
9. Work per their plans and preferences
This is important. You don’t want to push your kids through a daunting schedule and curriculum that makes the learning process tedious and boring for them.
You must let them work along with their own plans and preferences. So, for instance, if they are enjoying Ruby, don’t push them towards Java. Similarly, if they are having fun playing a coding game, don’t push them towards coding books.
Let them take their time and enjoy the process; let them learn and grow per their plans and preferences.
What if Your Kid Isn’t Interested in Coding?
There are kids who will naturally lean towards coding; they will enjoy the process. For others, this may not be the case. So, if your kid isn’t interested in coding, there are several things you can do to address that.
The first step, and perhaps the most relevant one, is to understand the “why”. Why is your kid not excited about coding? Do they have other inclinations, or do they not like coding? If it’s the latter one, then why not?
Understanding the “why” can automatically bring you ways on how you can get your kid interested in coding.
That said, here are some common tips for parents:
1. Explain the benefits of coding
At their age, they may not necessarily know why this is important. So, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to explain to them. And don’t just talk from the career point of view, but also explain how the coding exercises can help improve creativity and confidence. Give them better reasons to learn to code.
2. Find them a good mentor
Getting taught and guided by the right person can make kids interested in learning how to code. Now, this mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be a teacher. It could be an influencer, blogger, or a person with a YouTube channel. There are now many renowned developers out there who could be good role models for your kids. Their work and overall life can be inspiring for your kid to learn to code.
3. Make learning fun
And as we have discussed earlier in multiple points, you can do this in several ways. Like, subscribe them to a good coding app that has interactive features. You can get them together with other kids who also love coding. You can work as a team with your kid and learn to program together, which will encourage them. In all, take measures to make learning fun and interesting. A big reason why your kid dislikes coding is that they may find it boring, difficult, and tedious. You can address these pain points by making the learning process fun.
These are some of the tips to help your kid get excited about coding.
Let Them Make the Decision
With the above point made, it’s important not to make decisions on your kid’s behalf. Your job is to show them the pathway and not exactly push them towards it.
So, if your kid, despite all efforts, still isn’t enthused about coding, don’t force them.
Maybe they don’t want to code but write? Maybe they care less about tech and more about art?
Find your child’s deep interest and passion, and then support them in that path.
Yes, coding is very beneficial. But if your kid doesn’t truly like it, those “benefits” aren’t much of a benefit. They are better off following their natural interest and passion.
At LEAD, We Help Students Prepare for Tomorrow
At LEAD-powered schools, students get coding exposure from a very early stage. We offer a one-of-a-kind CCS program that prepares students for tomorrow. The program is designed to teach kids coding in a more practical, engaging, and gamified way.
In commitment to support every goal and aspiration of the students, LEAD Powered Schools also offer other programs, including an exclusive English program (ELGA). So, whether you want your kid to become a savvy programmer or a great writer, they get all the opportunities and support they need at the LEAD-powered schools.
LEAD is helping children become future-ready. To enrol your child in a LEAD Powered School: Fill the admission form now